Author Interview with Tom Atwood

I would like to introduce a dear friend of mine, Tom Atwood!

1. What genre are your books?

My current work in progress is urban fantasy, but I’ve written cyberpunk, science fiction, steampunk and mystery.

2. What draws you to this genre?

I am a huge fan of the Dresden Files. I grew up around mystery and sci-fi, so for a while those were the genres I was working on. Then I read Storm Front and absolutely fell in love. Between that, City of Bones, and Supernatural, I started to get really into the genre, and this is my second attempt at the genre.

3. What project are you working on at the moment?

I am working on Dauntless, which is meant to be the first in a long series of novels.

4. What’s it about?

The story is about Kacey Alexander, a young girl who recently went through the tragedy of losing her mother. When she looks through her mother’s belongings, she finds out that her family belongs to a long line of Sentinels, mages who are dedicated to protecting the world from the forces of darkness. Following the threads of her mother’s last investigation, she learns about a conspiracy to plunge humans and the mystical community. Together with her friends, she has to learn to stand against the fear that controls her and save her city.

5. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

Kacey is a character of contradictions.  On the surface, she’s the strongest character I’ve ever worked with.  She’s strong, fierce, defiant, and can do almost anything she sets her mind to.  Beneath the surface, though, she’s plagued with abandonment issues, isolation, and pain.  Her mother’s death, and the subsequent discovery that her parents have been lying to her, practically destroyed her psyche, so she’s been trying to put a mask over her pain until she finds a way out.

6. Have you written anything else?

Nothing that’s been published. I’ve written a few short stories and some fan fiction in the past, but this is my first attempt at anything ambitious.

7. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

It depends on the day you ask me, really. Some days I want to top the best sellers list, host panels at comic-con and have the kind of fame that big name writers like Steven King and JK Rowling have, and other days I’ll be happy if I can finish this novel without tearing my hair out.

8. Which writers inspire you?

Oh wow, how long is this interview supposed to go?  I could be here for hours listing all the authors and creators that have inspired me along the way.  I suppose the big three are Joss Whedon, who inspired me to try and weave tragedy and comedy together, Alexandre Dumas, who was the first author who inspired my love of writing adventure, and Jim Butcher, who, as I mentioned, first inspired my love off Urban Fantasy.

9. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I first started writing as a means of dealing with my parent’s divorce, kid stuff really, writing down additional adventures for the characters I read about in my illustrated classics. From there I started imagining my own characters, and imagining them overcoming similar obstacles as the ones I face.

10. Do you have a special time or place to write?

Whenever I find time. Mostly on the weekends, but I do write on my lunch hour occasionally.

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

Anywhere and everywhere. The strangest place I’ve ever gotten inspiration from is a very odd swirl of frost that was frozen on my windshield.

12. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

I used to prefer just taking off and writing, but these days I’m trying an outline, and seeing what comes of it.

13. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

I have in the past.  The only way I’ve found to overcome it is just to keep writing, ignore the awful parts that come out, and keep the good.  It is easier in theory than in practice.

14. What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

Finding time is definitely a challenge, but the hardest thing is going back on a piece you’ve written, or someone else reading a piece, and not being happy with the result.

15. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

I haven’t had anything published, but I do have an author page and a blog that are under construction where I plan to feature more information on my books.

16. How much research do you do?

It depends. For items that I have a solid background on, I just do a quick refresher. For items where it’s considerably murkier, however, I bring up anything and everything I can get my hands on. I’ve spent hours before on a single myth or legend, just to make sure I have it right.

17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I am useless without the warm, glowing radiation of the computer.

18. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

Jim Butcher, Jack London, JK Rowling, and Alexandre Dumas.

19. Are you currently reading any books?

Yes, I’m currently reading Geekomancy and City of Bones I just finished.

20. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Blog: http://atwoodtjr.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tatwoodauthor

Author Interview with Daniel Black

I present an interview with Daniel Black!

1. What genre are your books?

A: I write Epic Dark Fantasy.

2. What draws you to this genre?

A: Fantasy and Science Fiction of all sorts have always appealed to me greatly, and as the saying goes, “Write what you read.”

3. What project are you working on at the moment?

A: I am currently working on a second trilogy, as well as a number of standalone novels, all set in my fantasy world of, “New Earth.”

4. What’s it about?

A: The second trilogy is part of an initial trilogy of trilogies I am doing in order to fully explain the origin of my new fantasy universe. This new trilogy is called, “Rise of Dragons.” One of the things my main characters have commented on in my first trilogy is the lack of dragons, this new trilogy will explain their absence, and they will arrive in a very big way.

5. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

A: I have a couple of main characters, but two of them appeal to me for completely opposite reasons: Blake “The Hammer” Ingersoll: Blake’s character starts the series as one of my least interesting characters, essentially a jock with little on his mind but fun. His character developed far beyond what I expected over the course of the series, and he developed into a genuine hero.
Michelle Brown: Her character has a substantial background that affects the entire story in far more ways than are ever seen on the page. Her mother and her best friend’s mother were friends before their parents met, and died together in a tragic car accident when Michelle and her friend were small children. This event had a drastic effect on both the characters fathers, the best friends father collapsed in on himself and never recovered, while Michelle’s father essentially tried to turn her into his son. The story begins when Michelle decides to ask her boyfriend to marry her, and buys a very unfortunate wedding band.

6. Have you written anything else?

A: Yes, my first novel was actually a science fiction piece, but I decided not to publish it, and instead have been tinkering with it for years, hopefully, someday, I will consider it ready for publication.

7. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

A: To create a fantasy world that survives me. I intend to bring other authors into my fantasy world so that it becomes a far more complex world than a single author can make it.

8. Which writers inspire you?

A: A lot of them, lol. But in particular, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, Terry Goodkind, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and I am currently rereading, “The Cleric Quintet,” by R.A. Salvatore.

9. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

A: I wrote and published my first short story at 9 years old, though after that my life became rather hectic, resulting in a drought of further writing. I write because I must, if nobody bought a single book that I wrote (Oh the horror!) I would still write, though I might not edit if that was the case.

10. Do you have a special time or place to write?

A: Unfortunately, the middle of the night… I don’t know why, but I do my best work from 1 am to 6 am.

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

A. From people. I am one of those annoying people who talk to everyone, and I do mean everyone. When I was a child I would slip out of our apartment and roam the streets of Honolulu, talking to hookers, pimps, homeless people, cops, everyone out in the wee hours for whatever reason. These days I mainly talk to people at Walmart, but still I learn, and still I grow.

12. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

A: A little of both. I have a general idea of where each story is going, and occasionally rush through my first draft to have an outline to expand upon, but the characters don’t always follow that outline. I think that’s when the writing is best though, when the author just sits back and observes while the characters write themselves.

13. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

A: Yes, big time. I generally write through it, though those bits are usually edited out of the final book since they tend to feel forced.

14. What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

A: Publishing. It is easy for me to write, I do it naturally, but putting my thoughts out there for everyone to see? It’s like walking naked through the town square during rush hour. I am always afraid people will think that the views expressed by my characters are my own, I draw from everyone, and the views are decidedly not.

15. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

A: I have yet to formally market my books. My plan as an author was to write and publish three books in eBook and Audio format, and then advertise. My third book is being converted into audio as we speak, so I expect that by March I will be advertising in full force. I will contact bloggers, newspapers, radio, television, anything and everything I can to get the word out about my series.
As far as why I chose this route. One of the things I had always heard was that a fantasy author isn’t considered to be a fantasy author until they have completed their first trilogy, and that the best way to sell a book is to write the next. So I decided to base my advertising plans off that.

16. How much research do you do?

A: A lot, I am on this computer nearly constantly, and a lot of the time I am doing research on the science for my science fiction work, and into fantasy creatures and their origins, powers, and variations.

17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

A: I use a computer. I have too due to a nervous system disorder that is common in my family that makes writing with a pen painful. I also dictate using dragon naturally speaking, though that sometimes breaks the flow, requiring me to start again.

18. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

A: The authors who inspire me are my favorites, and I enjoy most of their works. Though Jack L. Chalker is a longtime favorite and I left him off the list above, his willingness to ignore the PC crowd and just write is inspiring indeed.

19. Are you currently reading any books?

A: I am currently rereading, “The Cleric Quintet.”

20. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

I am an open book. If you want to find out about me, contact me on Facebook and enjoy.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanielBlack
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Black/e/B00E3B9EEA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Book Links:
Book One: http://tinyurl.com/BlackCareful
Book Two: http://tinyurl.com/BlackSaga
Book Three: http://tinyurl.com/BlackGodWar

Author Interview with K. Madill

Here is an interview with the author of “The Stolen Herd.”

Copyright © K. Madill
Copyright © K. Madill

1. What genre are your books?

Fantasy, adventure and unrequited (so far) love.

2. What draws you to this genre?

In fantasy you’re not limited to the norm. Anything can happen. Also, I have a huge amount of love for mythical creatures.

3. What project are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on the sequel to the Stolen Herd. One of my new characters is pretty difficult – a real jerk actually and he’s fun to write because I get to be super mean through him without being an actual villain which is quite enjoyable. I’m really quite happy with it.

4. What’s it about?

Well, for those of you who’ve read the first one, you’ll know that Mandamus and Luco were headed to Azure Caves to seek counsel with the Snowbreths before they journey to the Light Sands. When they arrive, they find that not all is peaceful within this tribe of abominable snowmen and they must deal with that as well as some not so nice situations and folks they encounter along the way.

5. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

Mandamus is an orphaned horse who is seeking his herd. He’s very clever but can be a little hot headed at times. All the process of growing up, I suppose. I will give him this: for all his youth and faults, he is a steadfast, loyal horse and would do anything to protect his friends.

6. Have you written anything else?

I have. I have an anthology of short stories that I’ve been putting together as well as several submissions for Canada’s CBC writing contests. I’ve also got an environmental series in the fire and a children’s book I’m looking to get published.

7. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To not screw up too badly!

8. Which writers inspire you?

So, so, so many. Tolkien who (in my opinion) spawned the genre. Rowling for her pure excellence in storytelling. Fannie Flagg and Marion Keyes who make us all laugh so hard. Sherman Alexie who proves that anyone can do anything, it doesn’t matter where you come from.

9. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I decided to tell stories at a really young age. It progressed to angst song writing and terrible guitar playing in my teens to horror writing with a final evolution to fantasy. I write because I just have so many stories clawing at my insides, dying to get out!

10. Do you have a special time or place to write?

I write whenever I can. I work, commute, live, it all eats up precious writing time. I’ll write anywhere. Ferry lineups. I sneak off to write during my lunch hour.

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

That’s a hard one. I think I initially was inspired to write the series I’m working on now because I had read an article about rounding up wild horses in the Brittany Triangle (here in British Columbia). I remember feeling terrible. Horses are such emotional creatures that form strong bonds with one another. When they are captured from the wild and separated, it’s got to be agonizing for them. I read a lot about animal capture, you know – elephants for zoos, killer whales for Sea World, etc. and I don’t understand why humans can’t consider that animals would have emotions such as love for their families or loyalty or heartache. A lot of the things that animals are going through because of man bother me. I feel like we’re not respectful enough to them as fellow citizens of this planet. I think that some people think they’re just here for exploitation.

12. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

Outline, outline, outline, plan, chapter outline. I’m a pretty specific planner. I find if I don’t create a structured skeleton, I go off into the random idea wilderness. You don’t want to get caught out there!

13. Do you ever get writer’s block?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh BIG TIME. Sometimes I ignore the work. Sometimes I edit. Sometimes I write character sketches. I’ve just emerged from a spectacular bout of block. It was pretty frustrating but seems to have passed, thankfully.

14. What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

Grammar, sentence structure…all of it. I don’t find writing easy, in fact, to write a comprehensive story is pretty damn hard at times. It’s a craft. You have to practice, practice and then just when you think you’ve got it…you have to practice some more.

15. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

I am pretty much a huge failure when it comes to marketing. I did a book tour. That’s about it.

16. How much research do you do?

An enormous amount. I only really knew about domestic horses. I was pretty involved in lore and mythology having that been one of my favorite subjects but I was culturally limited there. I did a lot of reading up.

17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Longhand and computer.

18. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

Oh, so many! I love Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.  Atticus Finch is probably my all-time favorite fictional character. Of course J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is first runner up. I love Tolkien and Peter S. Beagle. Lately I’ve been reading Mauve Binchy and Marion Keyes and finding them hilarious.  Fannie Flagg’s work is so endearingly sweet and Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole series is some of the funniest reading I’ve ever done. I also love Dorothy Allison, HP Lovecraft and Rudyard Kipling. I was addicted to Alexander McCall’s #1 Ladies Detective Agency series when I read it.  I walked around doing my best to have an African accent for days!  I’m extremely varied in my taste. I’ll pretty much read anything you put in front of me. Whether I like it or not…that’s another story.

19. Are you currently reading any books?

I am, right now I’m reading two books, Echoes by Mauve Binchy and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

20. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

They can visit my website K.Madill.com or my Facebook Page.
Blog:  http://kmadill.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088?ref=hl
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/karai17/
Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Herd-Mandamus-Luco-Book-ebook/dp/B00GBQ9V8O

Tiny Book Review: The Dragonscale by JE Feldman

Thank you so much to Jasmine for such a fantastically detailed book review of “The Dragonscale.” I sincerely appreciate it!!

Subterraneal Jasiland

Media_Dragonscale_Feldman

Quick Summary:

The loosely intertwined stories of Rothgar, the general who is the keeper of the magical amulet known as the Dragonscale, and Aristaria, an orphaned elf from the city of Revelnortk, are at the center of JE Feldman’s The Dragonscale novel. War is breaking out in the world called Arbedenion as the Vampires, led by their evil queen, Gicessa and her diabolical daughter, Valacotayda, join forces with the army of the Black Dragons to take control of the empire. After a ruthless victory that destroys Revelnortk, the vampires seem to have the upper hand, but Rothgar is determined to stop them with the aid of the dragons that he calls forth from the amulet and his plan to rally the races of Arbedenion to form a united front against the dark armies. Aristaria enters the war with the help of an old friend, the warlock Grevinmor, and manages to gather…

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Author Interview with Leona Henry

May I introduce Leona Henry in this interview!

1. What genre are your books?

Dark fantasy, which is also known as grimdark.

2. What draws you to this genre?

I have fallen in love with it after reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George Martin. Though it really started with Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Silmarillion, which is quite dark and grim.

3. What project are you working on at the moment?

I am working on the first book of a trilogy, I’m halfway through the first draft and hoping to finish it before the end of spring 2015.

4. What’s it about?

The most powerful empire of the civilized world is on the brink of falling apart. The heroic emperor Thalios goes on a battle campaign to drive back the savage enemies raiding his eastern realm. But a much greater war is brewing and threatening the entire world, eventually drawing in the elemental races who had been living isolated from the humans for eons.

5. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?

The main character of the WIP book is Liberius, a veteran general whose loyalty to the emperor is stuff of legend. He is dedicated to justice -his own twisted version of it. The truly special thing he did: I wrote him as a minor character, but he literally came alive and took over the whole story, becoming the main character. He pretty much wrote the story and changed the book into something entirely different from what I originally planned. That was a magical experience. The special things he does in the story I cannot tell, for it would be a major spoiler.
The actual main character of the entire series is an unpredictable, trollish chaos deity.

6. Have you written anything else?

I’ve written a bunch of speculative fiction short stories in Turkish language when I was much younger and one of them -a horror suspense- won an award from a radio station contest. I’ve also written a series of essays on Byzantine history, also in Turkish language. They were academic in nature with citations and all, but written like stories. These essay-stories received a surprising amount of feedback.

7. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Write a lot of books and eventually become a full time writer. My greatest ambition is to inspire fan fiction and fan art featuring my characters.

8. Which writers inspire you?

Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Francois Rabeleis (which is a medieval French writer, whose masterpiece Gargantua and Pantagruel has inspired many, including Aleister Crowley), Homer, Shakespeare, Tolkien, George Martin, R. Scott Bakker.

9. When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I always enjoyed writing, but I decided to pursue a writing career in early 2014. I write mainly cause I want to write fantasy from a non-western perspective. Almost all fantasy fiction is based on medieval European culture or elements of the Viking lore, and the eastern cultures have such a vast amount of unexplored myth screaming to be explored. I want to show the readers of fantasy fiction the things they had never seen before.

10. Do you have a special time or place to write?

Oh yes! Crowded and noisy places, mainly pubs and cafes.

11. Where do you get your inspiration?

Byzantine and Turkish history, mythology and folklore of the Near Eastern and Central Asian cultures, Turkic and Mongolian shamanism, sufi mysticism, Ancient Egyptian mysticism and occult teachings.

12. Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?

I prepare a crude outline, then I let the characters write the story. They take it to rather interesting places.

13. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

I believe writer’s block is a myth. When I figured out I can only write in crowded and noisy places, I gave up trying to write at home, and the writer’s block became a thing of the past. Now I exclusively write at public places with cozy couches and the words keep pouring out of the keyboard.

14. What is the hardest thing for you about writing?

I am a naturalized American citizen but I was born and raised in Turkey with eastern culture and I keep forgetting I’m writing for the western readers who are used to the medieval European setting. For example in the Eastern Roman Empire, the nobility was far more down to earth compared to medieval European nobility.   I didn’t even realize the cultural gap until my American alpha readers pointed out to certain things in the story. What was normal in the medieval Eastern Roman and Armenian cultures would be considered unacceptable in medieval Europe and vice versa. Remembering to stop and clarify the cultural differences is difficult when I’m on a writing spree.

15. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?

The very first thing was telling all of my fantasy and role playing gamer geek friends about my writing. Hopefully they will promote my books if I manage to impress them. I am very active in the blogging scene and the social media, so these are the most obvious marketing avenues for me. I am working very hard to grow the traffic of my blog, and I have seen great results in just 2 months. Networking and becoming an a contributing member of the book reviewer community definitely makes a huge difference and helps you get reviews. Good reviews from the reputable book bloggers bring sales.
I am also planning to become active on fantasy genre forums and reaching out to the people who are tired of waiting for George Martin to release The Winds of Winter, since my book is in the same sub-genre. I really don’t like directly promoting my own books, but I mention little things about the story or the historical events that inspire me here and there, which gets people curious and they end up asking questions. They get even more curious when I answer their questions, this is how I lined up a number of alpha and beta readers. I am also planning to promote my books at the local SFF conventions.

16. How much research do you do?

An insane amount. I started by reading a Wikipedia article, and after 2 months of in depth research I found myself correcting and adding citations to the Wikipedia articles about the topics I had been researching.
I have read the major Byzantine and Armenian history chronicles circa 11-12th century, quite a number of academic research papers and theses covering a myriad of subjects like the military strategies and warfare, cuisine, medicine, shipbuilding, theology, political structure, social structure, legal code, trade, architecture, status of the foreign refugees, the relations between the church and the state, currency debasing, economy, financial crises, relations with allies and enemies and of course the glorious battles. I have acquired a lot of academic papers on Turkic/Mongolian shamanism and the nomadic cultures in the Mongolian and Siberian steppes. I have a heap of academic books about the Eastern Roman history, Turkic shamanism and ancient Turkish mythology. I am quite familiar with some of them due to my heritage but I wanted to gain expert knowledge. This is kind of crazy, like going quail hunting with a tank, but the particular period I was researching was so fascinating, I couldn’t stop digging deeper and deeper.  I ended up becoming an amateur medieval historian on the side.

17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Laptop all the way. Find-Replace is my friend and the automatic spellchecker is a life saver. I use Evernote on my phone to take notes when I have the Eureka! moments of inspiration.

18. What are some of your favorite books/authors?

J.R.R. Tolkien, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, R. Scott Bakker, J.K. Rowling, Patrick Rothfuss, Raymond E. Feist, R.A. Salvatore, Janny Wurts, Tracy Hickman, Margaret Weis, Mark Lawrence, Arthur C. Clarke, Wiliam Gibson, Neal Stephenson to name a few.
As for books, they are too many to name but I can say Tolkien’s entire Legendarium, A Song of Ice and Fire, Harry Potter, Russian classics, French classics (especially Gargantua and Pantagruel!), The Prince of Nothing trilogy, Dragonlance, Riftwar Saga, Forgotten Realms, The Kingkiller Chronicle and The Broken Empire.

19. Are you currently reading any books?

Right now I’m reading King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence and The Works of Procopius: The Secret History and the Wars of Justinian.

20. How can readers discover more about you and your work?

My blog would be the best source. I am quite active on Twitter, too.

Blog: http://leonahenry.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlrh
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorlrh
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/inklingscrolls/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/34997235-inkling-scrolls