Guest Post – Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort? – T R Robinson

Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort?

Guest post by T. R. Robinson

I first came across character interviews here in Alex’s Library of Erana blog. There have been a couple elsewhere but the majority have been here. Now for a bit of honesty: My initial thought? ‘Silly and pointless.’ As a consequence, I simply glanced (not even sped read) through a couple and thereafter ignored them. I now feel a little ashamed. It is not usual for me to make such determinations prior to fully investigating the validity and seeking to comprehend people’s motivations. Why I did not do so in this instance I am not sure. I suspect it may have been I was new to authoring and probably, as most when first setting out on a new career, felt under pressure to complete a work and to interact in social media. Time pressure in other words: there never seems to be enough for all we want to do. Of course, this is no excuse but I hope it helps readers understand.

Character interviews appear to remain a rarity. I certainly see few. Nevertheless, I now take more note of them. One question that occurs: Who are these interviews for? The author or the reader? I would say both. I will consider them in reverse order.

The Reader

Of what interest are character interviews to readers?

  • (Perhaps with the exception of some self-help or scientific books, the majority of readers are looking to be entertained.)
  • (Usually provide further idea of the character’s true nature, aims and goals.)
  • (Provide some backstory details which will enhance the eventual read. Assuming they do go on to read the book the character is in.)
  • (Build interest in and expectations for a story.)

 

The Author

What benefits do character interviews provide for authors?

  • Display writing skill. (Readers do not readily pick up books by unknown authors. These free interviews provide them with an idea of what they could expect from the author’s books.)
  • Avoid ‘padding’. (Able to fill-out character personalities with additional information that would not fit or be appropriate to include in the primary manuscript.)
  • Know characters. (Authors are advised, for best results, to fully know their charters by writing biographies. Interviews go part way, probably a long way, toward this aim.)
  • Refreshed mind. (Continuous writing on the same theme can lead to fatigue and some degree of stagnation. Writing something different usually breaks the trend.)
  • Marketing/Publicity. (Done right, interviews may set a story’s scene and create intrigue and interest in it.)

Of course, the above are by no means the full extent of what readers and authors may gain from these interviews. Everyone is different.

Worth the Effort?

Back to the original question.

Having now admonished and corrected myself, I may unequivocally state, as far as I am concerned, character interviews do have their place in the reading and authoring world. Now, with respect to Alex’s own books: Fantasy is not a genre I usually read, or if I am honest, really enjoy, at least that has generally tended to be my past experience. Nevertheless, I have read and reviewed Alex’s Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends and have to say I enjoyed it. That was in December 2017. I have not read any others since but admit some of the character interviews here have intrigued and inspired me to contemplate reading more in the genre.

So far I have not undertaken interviews for any of my own characters. This is primarily due to the fact I write in the memoir and biographical fiction genre where, most frequently, who the person is forms an integral part of the tale. However, in view of how much I have enjoyed Alex’s character interviews, I may consider undertaking a few for some of the fictional charters I have utilised to enhance the real events within the biographical fiction and short story collections. There, see, I have been inspired. From sceptic I am now a believer.

Thank you Alexandra for giving me this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with your readers.

 

*********************

 

In addition to authoring T. R. Robinson provides free guidance, tips and ideas for both authors and readers.

T. R.’s Primary Website and Blog: https://trrobinsonpublications.com

T. R.’s More Personal Blog: https://trmemoirs.wordpress.com

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Guest Post – How to Get Rich in Indie Publishing: Marketing Tips for Authors – Ron Vitale

Today we welcome author Ron Vitalie – who brings with him some awesome tips for indies.

How to Get Rich in Indie Publishing: Marketing Tips for Authors

By Ron Vitale

 Catchy title, right?Unfortunately, only a tiny number of indie authors have cracked the $100,000+ club on Amazon. In his May 2016 report, Data Guy reported that “1,340 authors are earning $100,000/year or more from Amazon sales. But half of them are indies and Amazon-imprint authors.”

With millions of ebooks competing for readers’ attention, there is a lot of supply, and demand is hot or cold—depending on your genre. A literary memoir? Probably isn’t going to earn you $100,000. Putting out one military science fiction book every month over the next year, odds are better that you’ll earn money with this strategy (for the short term).

I’ve been an indie author since 2011 and continue to struggle to make a profit off of selling my books. With my full-time day job, I release a book once or twice a year. My strategy has been to slowly build up my backlist and increase my readership over time.

I only know a few people who have struck gold being an indie author and many of them have since left the industry. Fads come and go. But writing good books and learning effective marketing strategies will help you succeed for the life of your author career.

Long gone are the gold rush days of indie publishing. The market has matured and what worked then (free days on KDP select), does not work today. Instead of getting frustrated, you have three options:

  • Adapt and learn new skills
  • Give up
  • Or worse: keep doing the same things and don’t change

 

Write and Keep Writing

The best advice that I can share is for an author to keep writing. This advice is often given, but I don’t know if authors take it to heart. Writing means that: Keep writing books. Devise series, different genres, experiment and allow your creativity to fly free. If the only reason why you’re writing is to make money, well, there are much easier ways to be successful.

Writing novels or short stories is great, but an author also needs to know how to write effective book descriptions, ad copy, email autoresponders and other marketing promotional materials. If you can’t do that, then hire a virtual assistant, learn how to do it or barter with another author.

In my experience, the authors who are doing the best (yes, this is a generalization) are those who are publishing books on a regular basis.

For me, this means that I don’t just write when I feel like it. No. I have a schedule and stick to it no matter what. If I’m sick or something comes up with the kids, I make the time up. To hold myself accountable, I do two things:

1. I tell my family and friends that I’m writing a book.

2. I track all the words I write in a Google sheet.

I used to write when the “muses came to me.” Then I wised up. I don’t go to work at my full-time job when I feel like it. I go because I want to be productive and earn a paycheck to provide for my family.

It took me a long time to understand this and to wrestle with not wanting to put my butt in the chair and do the work. But now I have 8 novels published and 2 more in the works.

 

Writing, like tennis or running, is all about mind over matter. It’s like a mental game.

If you believe you can’t do it, then you’ll fail. But if you work hard, get better, keep plugging away, chances are that you’ll still fail (since few authors earn back the money they put out to make the book), but that’s where marketing comes in.

First step is to write books and to keep on doing that.

 

Be a Unicorn

Now that you have a book ready to share with the world, what do you do?

Write the next book and then the third.

Seriously.

If I could pass anything that I’ve learned to new authors, it would be to think like a marketer.

When I published my first book, Lost (Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries), I fantasized that I would release it and I’d be raking in the money. Everyone would love my book. I worked hard, published the book and my dream fell flat. I think I tried to fly without wings and hit the concrete hard. Thankfully, I could still pick myself up, learn from my mistakes and keep writing.

The mistake I made is a classic one: I only had one product to sell. I used my five free days on KDP Select to give my book away and there was nothing else for readers to buy. I didn’t have an email list, I didn’t have autoresponders created, a funnel, an editorial calendar or email strategy that would help promote my brand.

I had none of that.

I only had a desire to write, but no idea how to get there. For the last five years, I’ve read, studied, experimented and watched more training sessions than I can remember. And that learning is never going to end. I need to keep evolving, learning and growing.

I like that because that fits nicely with my personality. I love learning.

 

To succeed, I recommend becoming a unicorn: An author who not only can write good books, but knows how to connect with people and apply that to marketing.

 

Email Equals Love

If you’re looking where to spend your energy, then the choice is simple: Build your email list. I use Mailchimp, love it (though it does get expensive) and I took the time to build out a 6 part autoresponder chain.

Either through Instafreebie or my website, I offer a reader a free book if they sign up on my email list. Once they signup, they receive (over 6 weeks) an email every week on topics related to what my brand is.

My mission (branding statement) is simple:

I believe that, no matter how difficult our childhood, we can use imaginative stories to heal ourselves and lead lives filled with love and hope.

The characters in my books reflect and live that theme. After users receive my emails, I then start sharing my bi-monthly newsletter. Some readers love it and write to me while some unsubscribe. But that’s a good thing because I want to make certain that my list contains people who are into what I stand for and what I write about.

It’s taking much longer than I had expected, but building the list organically is a slow burn.

To start out, ask yourself: What value can you give to readers that will make your emails stand out?

 

Build Trust

How does one actually do that with readers? It’s pretty simple if you stop and think about it.

  1. Ask people what they want.
  2. Provide good and useful content on a regular basis.
  3. Open up to your readers: Be authentic (and sometimes vulnerable)

 

I like to think of things this way: If I meet someone for the first time and they shake my hand and say: “Would you like to buy my book? It’s on sale for $.99.” Well, I’d slowly walk away from that person.

Just because someone gives you their email address doesn’t mean that they want to be spammed by you.

Not only is that type of marketing unsuccessful, but most readers tune that out. Especially in the area of social media, there’s the 90-10 rule:

90% of the time, share content that’s helpful and useful to people. The other 10%, you can promote your own work.

I highly recommend that you sign up to Seth Godin’s email list and read his books if you haven’t already. His marketing style is honest, helpful and is a great model for what works. Every single day I read the short email he sends out. Over time, I’ve come to look forward to his emails because I learn something and find them useful. It’s not just him trying to sell me a book or a class. Yes, he does do that (very infrequently), but he provides not only good content, but writing that causes me to question why I’m doing what I’m doing. He’s upbeat, personable and extremely relatable with his posts.

When I first started my email list, I sent out emails when I remembered. I was scattered, had no editorial plan and no idea what to write about. I’ve come a long way in the last year. I now send an email out every two weeks (I chose this because the majority of my readers picked this option in a survey I had sent to them) and I share updates on my creative process, but have found that the most popular emails are those that relate to my brand—personal stories about my upbringing that I share with readers.

I’ve had people from all over the world respond with their own stories and it allows me to see how interconnected we all are. I’m not alone and neither are those who also went through difficult childhoods. That commonality is a thread that binds us together and by sharing our stories, we own them and can heal rather than being poisoned and trapped by the difficulty we grew up with as kids. That’s a heavy topic to sometimes discuss and share, but it’s also what I believe is needed in today’s world. I was tired of feeling ashamed and decided to talk about my past in a way that was not only healing for myself, but for others. The benefit is that I not only get to connect with people from around the globe, but readers get a glimpse into what my writing style is like and what I write about. It’s honest and true.

 Advertise

I once believed that if I just wrote my heart out that my book would be “discovered” and I’d be selling copies easily. That didn’t happen. Yes, some authors have had success like that, but that’s not happened to me and to thousands like me. The reality is that authors need to juggle multiple hats and not only need to know how to write, but we need to also market our books.

Today we have Amazon (AMS), Facebook, Google, Bookbub and dozens upon dozens of other options out there. Some authors swear that this one technique on this certain platform works. Others say it doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, the only way to know what does (or doesn’t) work for you is to experiment. I’ve not had success with Facebook ads, but know that others have. The possibilities are tremendous because we can target people by demographic, location and interest. You could even send an email to your readers and then retarget them via Facebook, so that they’d see an ad for your book that way as well.

The big question is: How much are you willing to invest in marketing?

And when I say invest, I don’t refer just to money, but also to time. If you have unlimited funds, then you can hire a virtual assistant to run this all for you. And if you have that type of money, you probably aren’t in need of this article.

The biggest benefit is that authors can (and do) help each other. Email swaps, webinars, blog posts with actual sales numbers, there’s more information out there than there is time. I find that to be my biggest challenge. As I learned back in 2015, I can’t work full-time, raise two kids with my wife, be an author popping out books every few months and learn everything I need to know about marketing. I tried that and nearly imploded. I failed because I tried to take too much on. I need sleep, mental rest, time to have fun with my family and friends, and room to breathe. I can’t have every second of every day scheduled for work. That type of commitment nearly broke me and wasn’t healthy for me or my family.

It’s the dark side to being an indie author that many don’t talk about. We read and see all the success stories, but what about the failures? That’s where I come in. I share what I’ve been through because I think it’s important to give a true rundown of what I’ve experienced (and what many others are experiencing as well).

In my book, How to Become a Successful Author While Working Full-time: The Secret to Work-Life Balance, I go into detail about my personal experiences from the last six years of trying to figure out how to be an author in today’s vastly changed publishing landscape. I share it all—the highs and the lows.

Even if you have had success, maintaining that over years and decades will be hard. The challenge is being flexible and continuing to learn.

In 2017, without a sound marketing strategy, I think it’s extremely rare that a new indie author will find financial success. For me personally, I had some success in the early years, but as I’ve needed to grow my business, I’ve had to spend more on services to keep my business running.

Now I need to pay for website hosting, editing, covers, Mailchimp, advertising, and a bunch of other fees. I track how much I spend and how much I earn and there’s no shame in my sharing that I’m struggling. It’s the truth because I’m making choices to invest in my business and those expenses need to be spent or I cannot grow to where I want to be. I’m investing in my future because I see great potential in the long term.

Summing Up

No matter if you’re extremely successful as an indie author or just starting out, all of us will need to adapt and change. Maybe Amazon will change KNEP again or another service will rise up while others go extinct (I see your days numbered, Nook). We have virtual reality, augmented reality and who know what other “reality” is coming down the pike. Change will continue to happen and disrupters (like the Amazons of the world) will continue to affect the publishing industry.

The challenge for us as authors is to hold two incongruent ideas in our mind at the same time: We need to be as creative and inspiring as we can with our fiction but also need to understand marketing and its implementation in the real world.

Sometimes those two ideas will war with each other. I personally don’t believe that we only write to market. Someone will need to take a risk and try something different. Remember Harry Potter? The Twilight Series? Fifty Shades of Gray? Times and tastes change and I don’t always want to be following the herd. I need to write what moves me and inspired me to be an author from the start. The honesty that I write about in my books is what enables me to get up at 5:30 a.m. to write. Sometimes my main characters make mistakes, just like me. I like displaying the truth and complexities of my characters’ lives. But everything can’t just be about creation. I also need to take my author career and treat it like a business. I need to show up, write regularly, publish books and market them well. Having the tension between creativity and selling can be a challenge sometimes, but I choose to see it as a healthy struggle. I hope you do as well. Have questions? Feel free to contact me.

Bio:

RVitaie-bio-photo

Ron Vitale is a fantasy, science fiction and nonfiction author. He’s written the Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries series, the Witch’s Coven series, book one in the Jovian Gate Chronicles, and the Werewhale Saga. His first nonfiction book, How to Be a Successful Author While Working Full-Time: The Secret to Work/Life Balance is also now available. When not writing, Ron loves spending time with his kids even when they beat him in the fun card game Kittens in a Blender.

 

Guest Post – Publishing on Bundle Rabbit – Barbara Tarn

So, you joined BundleRabbit… great! You’re just another hopeful author waiting to be picked up! And when you do get picked up, all you have to do is follow Diane’s advice – she is one of the authors of my first bundle and I couldn’t have said it better. She explains everything about how BR works for authors.

But wait, months go by and nobody requests anything. You see dozens of other great authors and start thinking… why not? Maybe I should become a curator! How hard can it be?

Putting bundles together at BundleRabbit is great fun, but it’s also exhausting. Not very hard, but there is a small learning curve.

First of all, you apply for “curator” status. Create a draft with your vision (it can include your book or not) and choose a release date, but check what else is coming out that month.

Try to book a release date that is not already taken. When too many bundles come out at the same time, even though they’re not in the same genre, it kind of clutters even BundleRabbit’s page… So please take a look at the calendar and select a date – and keep in mind it takes at least a couple of weeks for the whole publishing process, so it can’t be tomorrow because you’re so excited and just can’t wait!

Then you start browsing the marketplace. Since not all authors upload a preview, if you’re not already familiar with their work, I suggest you read at least an excerpt before choosing someone for your awesome bundle.

Even though BundleRabbit allows bundling from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 25 books, try to stick to 10, especially if it’s novels, and don’t price them too low. You can always make a sale for a holiday, a special occasion, etc.

Create a Sales Blurb telling about all the great stories included and in the About section write some kind of curator’s note – like how fun it was to gather these people together and things like that. Don’t just repeat the Sales Blurb or the Vision! And don’t forget to fill the Thank You note!

You only need to provide a 2D cover and a background image – BR will take care of making the 3D cover, cover fan and… contributor’s copy, plus the “ads” for each title. You can use the forum of the bundle at first to communicate with authors (I did it with the fantasy bundle to ask their world’s name), but then you better create a mailing list, since not everyone wants to check the BR forums (or gets the email notifications).

And when your bundle is publishing, and you see the contributor’s copy is ready, please tell the authors they can download their own copy by going to their dashboard – bundles you’re in – and to the book in the bundle (where they will also find the “ad” a few days later).

It’s up to you or not to make a Facebook page for the bundle(s). I made just one for all my SFF bundles, both the ones I curate and the ones I’m in. Send out clear messages to the authors: when the bundle will go live on BR (it goes on pre-order on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Barnes&Noble), when you do a sale on BR – and if you have a bundle that allows coupons, ask the authors if they need any for their giveaways.

Try to coordinate the efforts to boost the signal! And have fun!

Barbara G.Tarn

http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com

www.unicornproductionsbooks.com

https://www.patreon.com/BarbaraGTarn

https://vimeo.com/user65901088

Fantasy and Sci-fi in Society Guest Post – Deborah Dixon

Name: Deborah Dixon

 

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

 

How do YOU define fantasy/science fiction/heroism?

Fantasy generally involves the use of fantastic creatures and settings. Science fiction involves the use of fantastic (for now) technology. Obviously there can be major overlap between the two; that’s why I like the term “speculative fiction” to cover them both. As for “heroism,” I specifically don’t define it. More on that below.

 

How pervasive do you think fantasy/sci-fi is in our society today?  Why do you think this is?

HBO’s most successful show is a high-fantasy epic. The Star Wars reboot came out as one of the highest-grossing films of all time. SF offers a special sort of escapism that society is searching for today, which puts SF writers in a very unique position.

 

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be?

I don’t think they were ever unacceptable. Perhaps sci-fi was at first, in the days of H.P. Lovecraft and Harlan Ellison and others (and that’s a very specific sort of sci-fi), but that’s way before my time. I could only offer hearsay.

 

What makes a ‘hero’? Would you say this definition is different within literature to real life?

Heroism is a concept that I find much too simplified in fiction as well as in real life. The definition varies from person to person – I doubt you’d find anyone over the age of five who would give the same answer. Is it a person who does good things? Perhaps, but what if they use undesirable means to do good things? Is it a person who obeys the law? Perhaps, but what if the person follows the law to the extent that other people are hurt? There is no basic definition one can put on heroism, or on villainy.

 

If you’re a writer how do you portray heroism in your books?

I don’t. I write characters who act based on their beliefs, their frames of reference, and their own capabilities. Whether any of my characters are heroes or villains I leave for my readers to decide. My first novel to be published specifically deals with this concept – of what makes a hero or villain, and who gets to decide who wears those labels. I personally do not label my characters as either (although for story reasons a few of my characters refer to themselves as one or the other. But it’s based on their perspectives of themselves.)

 

It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this?

Do you mean tropes or clichés? There’s a huge difference. Tropes are everywhere – in fantasy as much as your favorite romantic comedy and the last reality show you watched. They’re helpful writing tools in any genre or format. Clichés are tropes that are overused to the point of making a reader groan upon spotting one, such as the typical damsel in distress. Some fantasy writers do overindulge in clichés, but I would stop short of stating the whole genre suffers from them. Authors such as George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman have made an art of writing fantasy while shunning clichés or turning them on their heads.

 

Fantasy and science fiction used to be seen as very male-oriented, do you think this is still the case. Do you have any experience of this?

In terms of writers? The field is certainly more even between women and men in fantasy than it was a couple of decades ago. Sci-fi is probably still more male-dominated, but I suspect that’s by choice; the readership of sci-fi absent any significant romantic element tends to be decidedly male, and so men end up writing it as well, just as women are all over romance. I like being an obviously female sci-fi writer; it’s a novelty I can market. But as far as my work goes, I’d rather get past sex and gender and focus on the material.

 

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable?

Facts provide a basis on which the writer can build plausibility. For example, if you take the care to explain a hierarchal society in ways that relate to the real world, that will make the action in your high-fantasy novel much more sturdy, and then you’ve built up trust with your reader once you decide to whip out the dragons and magic rings. The same goes for sci-fi; introduce some technology or science your readers are familiar with, and later they will be more likely to accept that the spaceship just traveled from Earth to the galactic north in two hours. Don’t just dump phlebotinum on them with a “they can do that because that’s how this book works” hand wave. You have to establish why they should accept the rules of your world/galaxy.

 

How has science fiction changed from the days of Mary Shelley and Jules Verne?

I personally consider Shelley and Verne to be general literary authors, not science fiction, but that’s due to technology pressing forward and the concepts they worked with no longer holding the novelty of impossibility they did when they were published. Hey, it’ll happen to me too some day. “Oh, the Singularity. I remember that fondly. How quaint.”

 

Fairy-tales, anthropomorphic personifications, mythical beasts and cultural fantastical persons are all about us – such as Santa Claus, St George, dragons and fairies – how vital are these for our identity? Are we who we are because of the myths our cultures hold?

It’s the other way around. Our myths and creatures exist as they do because we are who we are. There’s a reason so many widely spread cultures have such similar stories – we as human beings have a need to believe in a higher power, to create an origin story, to explain away the best and worst in ourselves through benevolent and malevolent beings. Agricultural societies always have nature deities. Hierarchal societies always have pantheons. And they’re still vital to us, even as psychology and science explain many of these things, because they appeal to our sense of imagination, and they give us something to lean on and hide behind.

 

What myths have influenced your work?

All the myths I know. My own background means my works focus most on Abrahamic stories, but I’ve included and toyed with elements from Celtic, Norse, Greek/Roman, and West African mythologies, and feature anything from shapeshifters to kami and all in between. One of my own characters sums this approach up succinctly: “Everything is true, at least in part. All anything needs is a believer.”

 

What are some in YOUR society/cultural identity, how are they perceived and why are they important? Why have they endured?

Jamaica’s stories as they exist now are mostly those brought over from Africa in the slave trade, such as Anansi, the spider who weaves all webs and tells all tales. The reason for those enduring probably has to do with African slaves needing to bring something over from their own lives (including vodou, which is not practiced in Jamaica, but it is in Haiti. Just for the record). Unfortunately, the mythologies that existed before European colonization are not enduring; they were oral traditions and very few of them were written down before the native islanders were wiped out. A large part of my ancestry is made up of people who were extinguished before their stories could be immortalized; I suppose that has something to do with my interest in writing and helping others to write as well.

 

Bio: Deborah Dixon is a lifelong writer residing in New Orleans. She has written nine novels, five novellas, and numerous short stories. She is also one of the three founders of Shalamar, a publishing company designed to help new writers. Aside from writing, she also composes music and promotes small business in her hometown.

 

Links:

http://shalamarmedia.com (Shalamar, my publishing company)

https://twitter.com/Deboracracy (my professional Twitter)

https://shalamartanara.wordpress.com/ (our blog about writing and publishing)

https://www.facebook.com/shalamarllp/ (our Facebook Page)

 

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.


Picture

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

Random Friday – Interview with Rufus Redblade – Heroika

Here’s a great interview with Rufus Redblade, hero and dragonslayer.

Barbara G.Tarn - writer

heroika revised 1Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

Hello handsome. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am Rufus Redblade. I was once Captain of the Royal Guard, but times have changed. Now I am a blade for hire. I’m a Griffin Rider. We used to be the elite, for it takes a certain sort to tame and ride a Griffin. Many try, few succeed, and fewer still survive it long.

Age? No idea. I don’t keep track of such things.

That’s fine, I don’t do either. Describe your appearance in…

View original post 700 more words

The Importance of Research – Lorna Collins – Guest Post

Welcome back to Lorna Collins who discusses the importance of research, and how she goes about it.

*Name: Lorna Collins

Does a writer always have to do research?

Yes. Regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or historical or science fiction, it is absolutely necessary to do your homework.

How do you define research?

Research may involve fact checking, authentication, or delving into a time period. If you write about real locations, you must know everything about them. Even if you create a fictitious location, as we did with Aspen Grove, Colorado for our romance anthologies, we had to know what the area around the mountains of Colorado looked like. Our little town was also a silver mining town, so we had to research what those were like.

Yes, but if you’re writing fantasy or sci-fi and creating your own world, no research should be necessary, right?

No. Even if you create your own world, all physical attributes must be explained rationally and consistently. Know what others in the field have written, and ‘piggy-back’ onto their ideas. My husband, Larry, writes sci-fi, and it is all based on current scientific research and innovation.

What are you working on at present/Just finished?

We are currently writing the sequel to The Memory Keeper to be called Becoming the Jewel. We left the first book at the end of the 1800s when Mission San Juan Capistrano was in ruins. In this next book, we’ll tell the story of how it became the “Jewel of the Missions.”

We are also writing the third in our mystery series, Murder with Honor.

I am working on another ghost story called, Sophia’s Garden. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

*Tell us about your process for research.

In the Digital Age, there is no excuse for failing to do adequate research. Some of the resources I use include:

  • Online Research. Wikipedia is a good place to start, but I don’t finish there. I take each element of the story and search on it until I have a complete grasp of the subject matter. Google maps and Google itself are great places to start.
  • Go to the Source. When we were in Colorado in 2012, I visited both Idaho Springs and Georgetown, the two cities we used as the inspiration for Aspen Grove. We went to the Chamber of Commerce and bought locally written books about the history of the towns. We learned a great deal of new material we subsequently used in our books. In addition, we visited the gold mine in Idaho Springs. We asked how the silver mining process would have differed from the one for gold. We were told they were essentially the same. By the time we left, we had a much better feeling for our town and its roots.

    We also write our contemporary cozy mysteries in Hawaii. Before we start a new one, we take a trip. (I know it’s rough, but we have to do it. On one trip, we discovered a restaurant we described in our book had moved. We were able to change the location before the book went to press.

  • Ask an Expert. I learned from a dear friend and fellow mystery writer that everyone will talk to you if you say, “I’m a writer, and I’m trying to get the facts right.” If you have a question about a police procedure, ask your local police, If you have a medical question, ask a doctor.

    When we wrote our historical, we enlisted the local Indian storyteller, the official town historian, the historical society, and a number of long-time residents. They provided extremely valuable details we couldn’t have found otherwise.

  • Librarians are still great resources for research. They are there to help you, and they generally enjoy the research. Ask for help.
  • Your Friends. Let them know what you are writing about and what you are trying to find out. I have been amazed at how simple mention to friends has resulted in tremendous resources I never would have found on my own.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable? 

I’ve always loved learning, so the research process is an opportunity to learn new things. We spent two-and-a-half years researching The Memory Keeper. Because the history of San Juan Capistrano is so well-known and venerated locally, we had to be certain we only included verified incidents. In a number of cases, we obtained several sources before including a fact. The book is now sold in the store at Mission San Juan Capistrano and at a gallery in the Los Rios historical district. The local families and experts have all embraced the book.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself.

For years, I never told anyone I won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award as a senior in high school. I was an academic, after all. I won several college scholarships. The award seemed trivial at the time. However, I more recent years, I have become proud of the achievement. I still have the pin mounted in a shadowbox, along with other memorabilia. Whenever I see it, it makes me smile.

*Tell us a bit about yourself:

My husband, Larry K. Collins, and I write both together and alone. After fifty years of marriage, we figured out how to do it.

We were both members of the team that helped to build theUniversal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka. Our memoir of that experience, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park, was a 2006 EPPIE finalist and chosen one of Rebeccas Reads best nonfiction books.

We have also co-written two cozy mysteries set in Hawaii: Murder…They Wrote and Murder in Paradise, the latter a finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for mystery. We are currently working on more in the series. The Memory Keeper, is our historical novel set in San Juan Capistrano.

I co-authored six sweet romance anthologies set in the fictional town of Aspen Grove, CO: Snowflake Secrets, Seasons of Love, An Aspen Grove Christmas, The Art of Love, …And a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe, and Directions of Love, 2011 EPIC eBook Award winner.

My fantasy/mystery/romance, Ghost Writer, launched Oak Tree Press’s Mystic Oaks imprint. It combines elements of fantasy, romance, and mystery. It’s a beach read with a dog, and a ghost.

In addition, I am a professional editor.

Where can we learn more about you?

You can find out more about me at our website: http://www.lornalarry.com

Follow my blog at: http://lornacollins-author.blogspot.com/

Social Media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorna.l.collins

Twitter: @LornaCollins

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lkcollins75/

LinkedIn: Lorna Collins http://tinyurl.com/nunt9no

Fantasy, Sci-fi and Literary Heroes in Our Society- Guest Post – Andrew Weston

Today I am pleased to welcome back Andrew Weston, science fiction author, for a guest post on my feature for 2015.  Here are his views on fantasy, sci fi and literary heroes in society, and its influences.

Name: Andrew P. Weston

Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)? Kos – Greek Islands.

How pervasive do you think fantasy/sci-fi is in our society today? I think both genres are extremely pervasive, and you can see that from the focus the entertainment industry devotes them. As an experiment, I researched the internet, using a variety of sites, regarding the top 10 films of 2014 – guess what? Science fiction and fantasy dominated every list I looked at. It’s the same story when you peep ahead into 2015. Why is this? Quite simply, because the entertainment industry isn’t stupid. They cater to the obvious demand, and the public would appear to have an increasingly voracious appetite for entertainment that stretches the imagination.

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be?Certainly, because the science fact of today, was very often the science fiction of yester-year. You only have to think of the long running series “Star Trek” to see this aspect in an everyday setting. When it first came out, I can remember everyone talking about the handheld communication devices they used to speak with each other around the planet. Doors that swish open when you walk toward them. Hypo sprays, etc. Such things are now common, and people are much more accepting when new and innovative ideas are presented in a factual way. That’s why well written Science Fiction and Fantasy can contribute so well to keeping things fresh.

If you could pick a couple of characters from literature as ‘heroes’ who would it be and why? My first choice would be the character of Thomas Covenant from Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane series.

He’s an everyday guy who suffers the indignity of contracting leprosy and losing two of the fingers from his right hand. His wife divorces him and takes their son away. Neighbours shun him, and he becomes a lonely hermit of an individual, cut off from society. To compensate, he becomes overly rigid in his approach to life. (Lepers have to exercise extreme caution so that they don’t pick up new infections that can spread their disease further and cause terrible disfigurement). His illness becomes manageable, and he manages to lead a balanced – if somewhat lonely – life. Imagine his horror, then, when he is miraculously snatched away from reality, and transported to ‘The Land’ – a place of magic and wonder where the very air brings healing and relief. Although healed, his disfigurement identifies him as a prophesised hero, come to save the land, from the cruel taint of the Creators arch-enemy, Lord Foul.

Mind blowing!

And yet, despite all the wonders he sees and experiences, Covenant doesn’t want anything to do with it – and determinedly slogs through every hurdle put in his way, whilst stubbornly clinging to the notion that everything around him is false. He doesn’t want rewards, accolades or special treatment. He just wants to go home. An antitypical hero if ever there was one, because at the end, he ends up saving the Land from destruction. A great character.

My second choice would be an ‘old fashioned’ kind of hero, John Carter, (of Edgar Rice Burrows, “A Princess of Mars fame”, in what became known as the Barsoom Series).

He’s an old style ‘man’s man’. An army veteran snatched from home to fight someone else’s war. It had high action in an old-world setting. Sword fights, damsels in distress, daring feats in the face of certain death, and a ‘never give up’ attitude. What I liked about his character, is that when he’s originally snatched away, he falls in with a crowd of ‘typical aliens’. Green skinned, multi-armed Tharks. They are a warlike race, and because of his superior strength and agility (Due to Barsoom’s lower gravity), Carter soon rises to fame among them. However, Barsoom also has a red-skinned humanoid race, and he soon becomes embroiled in their politics and attempts to bring peace to their troubled world. A great story, and trend-setter of its time.

It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? I’m realistic about it. Cliché’s will often recur because of the very nature of the genres involved. Look at early science fiction. Popular stories were full of tales about robots, space travel, settling on distant planets. Fantasy novels were often set on ‘alternative’ worlds where elves, dwarves, and humans co-existed in an uneasy alliance forged around the use of magic. Sound familiar? Of course it is. Its bread and butter stuff. It’s what you ‘DO’ with it that matters.

Here’s an example. Think about what’s popular in TV/Films lately? Vampires, witches, aliens, artificial intelligence. But look at the difference – say, between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Twilight from the Underworld franchise. The new Battlestar Galactica v something like Edge of Tomorrow. Transcendence v the Anomaly. Like I say, you’re taking similar settings, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? ‘Facts’ are the foundation of a good story. If it’s believable, people will be able to relate to what they’re reading. If they relate to it, you capture their imagination. You suck them into your imaginary world and get them involving themselves. That’s exactly what you want. Yes, by all means – stretch the imagination – make it outlandishly fantasmagorical if you want to. But ensure to base it in well researched ‘reality’. Remember, even if your characters live in a world of magic and wonder, unless you’ve done your homework, and established that magical system upon well founded ‘laws and precepts’ – ‘strengths and limitations’, it’s going to sound false and turn people off. You have to consider such things nowadays…or suffer the consequences.

What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most?  Who would you say are the most influential writers/film-makers? Influenced me the most? I grew up with Gerry Anderson. What a mind. Some of his concepts were incredible. Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space 1999. I also loved Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Lost in Space. Land of the Giants. Those influences stuck with me all my life and led to a vivid imagination.

Today, I’d say some of our best film makers are Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas. Of course, the advancing nature of special effects have helped immensely. Nonetheless, films by these guys are guaranteed to draw the crowds and are of high quality. I’d be delighted if any of them decided to take of the IX?
(Perhaps you could give them a call?).

****

Andrew P. Weston is a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is a contracted writer of fiction and poetry. Creator of “The IX” – and the “Guardians” and “Cambion Journals” series, has also has the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA in one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-P-Weston/e/B00F3BL6GS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Author Website:

http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Andrew’s latest book is a fine military science fiction – which I featured recently.  Check it out, you won’t regret it!

IX coverlarge

Meet some of Andrew’s characters:

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/character-interview-number-twenty-five-marcus-brutus/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/character-interview-number-twenty-four-alan-mcdonald-fantasymilitary/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/character-interview-number-thirty-daemon-grim/ (not from IX)

And Andrew: https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/new-release-the-ix-by-andrew-p-weston-fantasymilitaryhistorical/

The IX

Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/

Amazon.UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Andrew-P-Weston-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/

 

Guest Post – Jade Varden – on Writing and Marketing

Today YA author Jade Varden joins us – here are her tips on writing and marketing.

Jade – over to you.

Advice to newbies: Read a lot. Find out what sort of stories you like. Re-read your favorites. Read, read, read.

Your best and worst marketing tips: Market your book by giving people something they can use. What does your book offer them? What questions will it answer? Will they laugh or cry or think because of it? Think about that, and you’ll know how to market it. Don’t market your book by saying “buy this book.” Be more creative than that.

What YOU look for in a good book. I look for a strong main character that I can feel something about. Good or bad, I want to feel something for the character.

The importance of good and consistent characterisation.A character has to stay true to their established personality, but character growth is also important in books.

How to find beta readers. Use forums to find them. This is a great resource for connecting with other authors and readers.

Please tell us a little about yourself. (A couple of lines.) Lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself with my writing. I’ve been trying to branch out into new genres, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

On average how many books do you read a month?  What genres do you enjoy? I don’t really have much time to read beyond doing my own proofing. I love the YA genre, but I’m eclectic. I read mystery, horror, romance, anything that looks good.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot?  Which factors do you overlook? (if any). I look for character and plot development. Pacing is also incredibly important. I don’t want it to be too slow, but not too fast either.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? I don’t think they should do it.

Do you feel it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review, is this a factor which influences your choice? No and no.

A lot of readers comment about a book with all 4 or 5 star reviews and nothing below as being suspicious? What do you think about this? I think people probably do this a lot. It’s much easier not to write any text, right?

Do you give negative reviews?  I give constructive criticism. It has been interpreted as negative in the past.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? If the plot sounds interesting, I’ll definitely go outside my comfort zone.

Are your characters based on real people? All of them are based on real characteristics that I’ve seen in people, but only very rarely is one of my characters wholly based on a real person. I pick and choose from people I know and even strangers.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but that’s an amazing idea.

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 huge when it comes to writing a book, and you need to do as much as you need to do to answer all the questions your readers might have. I don’t necessarily enjoy research because it is time-consuming. I look for credible resources only. Encyclopedias, university websites, newspapers. Don’t use Wikipedia.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I absolutely do. Indie authors have taken an alternative path, and anything different is suspect.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Absolutely!

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Read. Connect with readers. Edit.

What are your views on authors offering free books? It’s a great way to promote.

Do you have a favourite movie? Gone With the Wind

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’m afraid of the shower.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I love, love, love ebooks. It’s just so easy.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? The blurb. I’ll always flip a cover over to get to the blurb. If I see any errors in the blurb, I’m out.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?I don’t, because I want to avoid spoilers. However, I will look at general ratings and if a book has a ton of really low ratings I might think twice.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” I do up to a point. I’ll only turn away from a book if the cover is really poorly done.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books? I usually don’t know much about the author personally when I go to read one of their books.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be? Gone With the Wind, Flowers in the Attic, Valley of Horses.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? I don’t think there’s any question that they are.

Some readers believe all 4 and 5 star reviews on a book must be fake. What are your thoughts on this? I think that sounds ridiculous.

About the Author

 

Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. Visit Jade’s blog at http://jadevarden.blogspot.com/ for reviews, writing tips, self-publishing advice and everything else you ever wanted to know about reading and writing books.

 

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JadeVarden

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jade-Varden/e/B006QD4LUA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Fantasy, Science Fiction and Literary Heroes in our Society – Thaddeus White

Today I am pleased to welcome back Thaddeus White, fantasy author for a guest post on my feature for 2015.  Here are his views on fantasy in society, and its influences.

Name: Thaddeus White

Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)? England

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be? I think that this is definitely the case. Superheroes are utterly dominating cinema and are starting to make headway on TV as well. The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films (and Harry Potter) have enjoyed immense success, as has (and will) Star Wars. Game of Thrones is hugely popular as well. Sci-fi and fantasy aren’t niche anymore, they’re mainstream.

I think the shift has occurred for several reasons. CGI allows a truer rendition on-screen of what happens in books, and there’s increasing awareness that fantasy isn’t necessarily fairytales and elves (the rise of grimdark). This means that those into gritty and grim stuff can find much to enjoy in fantasy. As geeks have inherited the earth, it’s helped to make science fiction cooler.

There’s also a natural ebb and flow to what happens to be ‘in’. Right now, sci-fi and fantasy are doing well, but sooner or later fashion will shift.

It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this?There are many fantasy tropes, but this isn’t limited to this one genre. The flood myth and dragons are commonplace in religion and old legends, and how often is a spy also a ladies man? Tropes can be overused to make something boring and generic, but they can also be handy pegs, shorthand to let readers know something without having to detail it (eg dwarf = short, probably bearded, may well have an axe, likes a drink).

Fantasy and science fiction used to be seen as very male-oriented, do you think this is still the case. Do you have any experience of this? [Disclaimer: I am a chap]. I think it’s far less the case than it was, and it’s important to note that other genres are female-oriented (romantic fiction, for example). A potential issue with fantasy, set either in a medieval or a largely realistic medievalish world, is that there wasn’t gender equality, so the stories are often male-dominated. Women can of course have roles in commerce, religion and magic, but (keeping to medieval norms) it’s hard to give them common roles in warfare or political power. It’s impossible to impose modern gender norms on a world aspiring to be the equivalent of, say, 14th century England.

Sci-fi’s an entirely different kettle of fish, because you can make a sci-fi society credibly equal, or even matriarchal in nature. Shifting Starbuck from a male to a female character in Battlestar Galactica was a credible change.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? I think internal consistency is critical to credibility. People will suspend disbelief for magic or advanced technology beyond anything possible today, but they will never believe a world or universe where the author contradicts his own tenets. So long as an author adheres to the rules that are established, there’s no problem.

What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most?  What would you say the most influential writers/film-makers? It’s interesting you mention those, because one of the biggest influences on me was the videogame Vagrant Story (came out about a decade and a half ago now). It had a phenomenally good translation to English (it was originally in Japanese), and Alexander O. Smith deserves huge credit for the translation. It’s almost Shakespearean, and, (as well as English), French, German and Latin are mingled together to give the city of Lea Monde, and the wider world, a deeper sense of history. It was an inspiration for me when I was doing the extensive world-building behind my first book, Bane of Souls.

Another major influence, albeit in a smaller way, was the BBC adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia. There’s one specific moment I shan’t spoil that, as a young child, made me realise just how exciting fantasy could be.

Social media links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MorrisF1

Website: thaddeuswhite.weebly.com

Blog: thaddeusthesixth.blogspot.co.uk

Amazon UK author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thaddeus-White/e/B008C6RU98/