The Write Stuff – Monday, May 19 – Interview With Author Massimo Marino

I feel especially privileged today to host the award-winning science fiction author, Massimo Marino. After reading DAIMONES, the first volume of his trilogy, I knew I wanted to share this author with you. Not only is his story’s premise original, but his writing is subtly compelling. He manages to draw the reader in with intrigue, rather than the violence and fast-paced action so characteristic of the genre. And while it is not unheard of for a scientist to write science fiction, Massimo manages to interweave paranormal and mythological events into his tale. I asked Mr. Marino to begin by telling us about himself.

MM

I’m Italian, and because even in Italy that means everything and nothing at all, I should say I am Sicilian. I was born in Palermo, and as it happened with countless Sicilians, I left it, back in 1986. I lived more years abroad than in my home country, and I have changed in many and different ways than my old friends there. It is always a pleasure to go back, but it is now 6 long years since my last visit. Saudade? Maybe, a little.

I lived in Switzerland, France, and the United States. I am a scientist as a background, and have spent over 17 years in fundamental research. Most of my writing are then academic stuff, and I always wonder at how much Google is able to find about everyone. I am sure one has to Google oneself so not to forget too much…

I worked for many years at CERN—an international lab for particle physics research near Geneva, Switzerland—then in the US at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Fantastic moments and memories from those years. In 2005 I moved to the private sector, worked with Apple Inc., and then for the World Economic Forum.

I wrote since I was a kid, short stories and novellas, but never had anyone read it. It was a personal thing. Then, work and life took their toll and I stopped. Slightly over a year ago, for various reasons, I started again with some burning inside that needed to come out. On the first weekend I got over 15000 words, then subscribed to critters.org for peer review, lurked a year keeping on writing and getting feedback.

On September 2012 my debut novel, DAIMONES, saw the light. It received the 2012 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award in Science Fiction. Last February it was awarded with the Hall of Fame – Best Science Fiction by Quality Reads UK, and received over 64% of the 1600+ readers votes. To the day, DAIMONES has sold over 4,000 copies. Both novels are available as digital and printed editions.

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The sequel, ONCE HUMANS, was published last July and has sold more than 1,000 copies since. I’m writing Vol.3, THE RISE OF THE PHOENIX. Its Prelude (chapters 1-4) has been published last November and readers can have a taste of what’s coming in the trilogy.

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The novels have been optioned by an Independent Audiobook Publisher in the US, Sci-Fi Publishing LCC, and both DAIMONES and ONCE HUMANS are now available as audiobook, too. (From audible.com, Amazon and iTunes).

Rise of the Phoenix Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you have told us about DAIMONES’ debut is tantalizing. Would you please detail a bit more about your path to publication?

I started as many others with query letters to agents and publishers. A good number asked for reading a few chapters. I only had two kind of replies: total silence, or personal words of appreciation for the story, my background, my voice, the “lyric of the prose”, and encouragements with the caveat that the market is looking unfortunately for something else. After a while, because the market is made of readers, I decided to verify myself if the market was looking for something else. Thus, I became the publisher of my work. I have a team supporting me, beta-readers, proofreading services, a copy editor, and a graphic professional for the covers. I’ve sold over 6000 copies of my books and critiques and readers appreciation are close to 90%.

I believe it would be the same even after 6 million copies, the sample I have is convincing enough.

I received two offers — since I published — from small publishing companies but the current standard of contracts is laughable. I said thanks but no thanks in both cases.

As I intimated at the outset of our discussion, your premise is unusual. What is the story behind the story?

The animal deaths around the world. Those intrigued me, they still happen, unexplained, targeting one single race at the time and leaving all others undisturbed. Don’t look like natural events and yet I’m not aware of any serious scientific investigation on what’s happening there. Who knows, maybe the Daimones trilogy is nothing but a premonition?

One would suspect that a scientist would write about, shall we say, down to earth matters. What made you choose science fiction?

I grew up with brother and dad buried under sci-fi novels. Dad received Astounding Stories magazine and I wasn’t allowed to read those but I looked at the pictures and fantasized. Later on, I started reading sci-fi, too.

In your own words, why is your writing different from other sci-fi authors?

Sci-fi is considered by many a minor, less valuable genre, not good for good, discerning readers, full of crazy ideas with little ground on reality, shoddy characterization and the equivalent of a B-series, low budget Hollywood movie. I think sci-fi can be of the highest literature, allowing the author to stress the boundaries of the society and the universe where the characters interact to explore any and every major high literature themes. I look after Literary Science Fiction.

I agree. Will you tell us what you are working on now?

I’m working on the launch of Vol. 3 of the trilogy: THE RISE OF THE PHOENIX. At the times of posting this interview it might be already available as ebook and paperback from major retailers and the audiobook being produced.

When you’re not marketing your work, what is your writing day like?

When I write a new book, I write every day. I aim at 2500 words. Good or bad doesn’t matter. Inspiration has to find me while I write, not while I’m attending other stuff.

Are there any awards you’ve received you haven’t mentioned above?

The novels have received the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award in Science Fiction and Best Science Fiction Series. They have been awarded the Awesome Indies Gold Seal of Approval and the Seal of Excellency in Writing by the IndiePENdents.org association. But the greatest honor is when the stories touch the heart and soul of readers and prompt them to share their feelings with a 4 and a 5 star review.

I’ll be more direct. Aside from these, why should someone buy your books?

To spend good time reading immersive novels, to be provoked and questions beliefs and certainties, to daydream together.

Excellent answer! Let’s leave writing behind. I know you live in wonderful places in Europe—France, Switzerland and Italy. Many would consider these ideal. What is your dream location?

In a villa overlooking the Ocean in Big Sur, California.

Not a bad choice at all. In view of your marvelous career to date, what would be your dream job?

Being able to earn enough royalties from my books every month to pay for all I and family need. And writing new novels for new readers – sharing the visions and gifting them with pleasant reading times, moments of evasion and fulfillment.

Would you care to share something about your home life?

I have two furry, rascal cats who are the reasons for my pauses during a writing day, otherwise I’d forget about lunch, physiological rests, and any other task requiring my attention at any moment. When I write, I’m no more there. My cats arrive, place their paws on my hands or walk over the keyboard and stare at me. They give me the look: “Time to take a break.”

Even though your life may seem ideal to many of those visiting today, no one’s is perfect. So I have to ask, how do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?

Panting and huffing, and with the support of my family.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“’Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem to be confidences or sides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profound thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you. That’s a new one for me. Before we bring this interview to a close, I have a few Lightening Round questions.

The one thing I cannot do without is:

My tool for writing and doing research: my Mac Book Air

In one or two words, what is your defining trait?

Compulsive, passionate

Hard copy or ebook?

Both. There are moments for both.

Vice? Virtue?

It’s no virtue to have no vice.

Favorite book:

The one I’m reading at the moment.

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

A note to readers: Sales are great, press releases, interviews, live radio guest appearances are exciting, climbing the ranks and entering the Top 100 Authors for my genre is exhilarating, but nothing beats the support of all readers and friends and fellow writers who share the thrill with me. You’re the best readers any writer could ever have. Without you giving my stories a chance, nothing would ever be possible.

Links:

http://Author.to/MassimoMarino

http://myBook.to/Daimones

http://myBook.to/OnceHumans

http://myBook.to/PhoenixPrelude

http://youtu.be/ROnM9qPRXJU

http://youtu.be/ty6oCzWx-o4

 

Press Releases:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/12/prweb11406686.htm

http://www.12newsnow.com/story/24050894/award-winning-post-apocalyptic-science-fiction-daimones-audiobook-now-available-on-amazon-itunes-and-audible

http://www.wireservice.ca/index.php?module=News&func=display&sid=9540

http://www.wireservice.ca/index.php?module=News&func=display&sid=10926

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/12/prweb11424216.htm

The Write Stuff – Monday, May 5 – Interview With Author Giacomo Giammatteo

This edition of The Write Stuff moves into different territory. When I began this series, I promised to present authors of interest. I doubt you will find anyone more interesting than mystery and non-fiction author, Giacomo Giammatteo. With so many titles to his credit and such glowing reviews about his work, I hardly knew where to begin this interview. I thought I would play it safe by asking Jim, as I have grown to know him, to tell us a little about himself. He chose to describe himself this way:

Giacomo & Slick 3andAhalf Inch

I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Cleland Heights, a mixed ethnic neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware, that sat on the fringes of the Italian, Irish and Polish neighborhoods. The main characters of Murder Takes Time grew up in Cleland Heights and many of the scenes in the book were taken from real-life experiences.

Somehow I survived the transition to adulthood, but when my kids were young I left the Northeast and settled in Texas, where my wife suggested we get a few animals. I should have known better; we now have a full-blown animal sanctuary with rescues from all over. At last count we had 41 animals—12 dogs, a horse, a three-legged cat and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy.

Since this is a bio, some of you might wonder what I do. By day I am a headhunter, scouring the country for top talent to fill jobs in the biotech and medical device industry. In the evening I help my wife tend the animals, and at night—late at night—I turn into a writer. I write mysteries and non-fiction career books. I also have a series of epic fantasies planned; the first three are written.

Jim, in brief, what is Murder Takes Time about?

Nicky Fusco thought he knew right from wrong, living by an oath of friendship & honor with his three best friends. But life took them down separate paths, and the oath was broken. Secrets were kept. Years later they are reunited and the bonds of their friendship are brutally tested, putting them on a collision course set in motion long ago.

Murder Takes Time is not a typical murder mystery or mob story. It is a thriller, a romance, and a coming-of-age story that rips your heart out. By the time you’re done reading it, you just might find yourself rethinking the definition of friendship & honor—even right and wrong.

Three boys, one girl. Friendship, honor, love—betrayal. It ends with murder.

Wow! That’s quite a concept. Since I know from personal experience that every story has a seed, what prompted you to write this one and why should someone buy it?

Many of the stories in this book are true, mostly of the kids in the early days. The neighborhood described is where I grew up.

I guarantee a good read. Literally. If you don’t like my books, or don’t feel you got your money’s worth, I’ll give you a refund or a new book. I have it posted on both of my sites. No one has taken me up on it yet.

What are you working on now?

Always a tricky question. I tend to work on a lot of things at once, and at different stages of development. So, I have just put up my second career book  on pre-order (No Mistakes Interviews), and I am doing the final edit on A Bullet From Dominic, the second book in the Blood Flows South series. I am also close to finishing the draft on Murder Takes Patience, the third in the Friendship & Honor series, and I am plotting a novella, and also the fourth and final book in my fantasy series.

Right from the start, I said you have numerous titles to your credit. That brings up the question, how do you overcome writer’s block?

Fortunately, I have never had to deal with that.

Some say marketing a book is more difficult than writing it, yet you’ve bee very successful at this. What is your marketing strategy?

When you find a strategy that works, please let me know. I have been experimenting with a lot. I can tell you what I don’t do, and that’s give books away for free in mass quantities.

Hah! Can you tell us what life experiences inspire or enrich your writing?

I guess growing up in the city in a big family and among various ethnic groups. That was a wonderful experience.

Between all of the animals and your day job, how do you find time to write? What’s a typical day?

  • Wake up about 7, feed a few of the animals. (we have a sanctuary with 45 animals).
  • Drink coffee.
  • Work in my day job, headhunting in the biotech/medical device industries.
  • More coffee.
  • Feed animals at noon.
  • Back to headhunting.
  • More coffee.
  • Feed more animals at around 5-6 PM.
  • More coffee.
  • Eat dinner around 8:00 and then start writing.
  • Write until about midnight or so. Start all over the next day.

 A few quick questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Italy. No question about it.

How do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?

Knowing that picking yourself up is required. That’s what must be done.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Do you have any pet projects?

Continuing our work with animals that need help.

What makes you laugh?

Almost anything. But especially little kids and animals.

What are a few of your favorite authors?

Alexandre Dumas, Luciano DeCrescenzo, Frank Herbert, John Sandford.

I enjoy multiple genres, as well. Alright, Jim, before I share an excerpt from Murder Takes Time with our visitors, as well as links to more of your work, let’s try a lightning round.

 The one thing I cannot do without is:

Coffee/espresso, garlic, pasta. (I can’t limit it to one)

 In one or two words, what is your defining trait?

Persistence.

Hard copy or ebook?

Doesn’t matter.

Vice? Virtue?

Coffee, garlic, pasta.

Hah! I think I see a pattern here. Favorite book:

The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite movie:

The Phantom of the Opera (2004 version)

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

If you like a book, tell someone about it.

I asked Jim to provide a brief excerpt from Murder Takes Time. Here it is, for your enjoyment:

 Murder takes time Final-a

GG: Murder Takes Time

Published 4/15/2012

 

Chapter 1

Rule Number One―Murder Takes Time

 

Brooklyn, New York—Current Day

He sipped the last of a shitty cup of coffee and stared across the street at Nino Tortella, the guy he was going to kill. Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill—and above all—patience. Patience had been the most difficult to learn. The killing came naturally. He cursed himself for that. Prayed to God every night for the strength to stop. But so far God hadn’t answered him, and there were still a few more people that needed killing.

The waitress leaned forward to refill his cup, her cleavage a hint that more than coffee was being offered. “You want more?”

He waved a hand—Nino was heading towards his car. “Just the check, please.”

From behind her ear she pulled a yellow pencil, tucked into a tight bun of red hair, then opened the receipt book clipped to the pocket of her apron. Cigarette smoke lingered on her breath, almost hidden by the gum she chewed.

Spearmint, he thought, and smiled. It was his favorite, too.

He waited for her to leave, scanned the table and booth, plucked a few strands of hair from the torn cushion and a fingernail clipping from the windowsill. After putting them into a small plastic bag, he wiped everything with a napkin. The check was $4.28. He pulled a five and a one from his money clip and left them on the table. As he moved to the door he glanced out the window. Nino already left the lot, but it was Thursday, and on Thursdays Nino stopped for pizza.

He parked three blocks from Nino’s house, finding a spot where the snow wasn’t piled high at the curb. After pulling a black wool cap over his forehead, he put leather gloves on, raised the collar on his coat then grabbed his black sports bag. Favoring his left leg, he walked down the street, dropping his eyes if he passed someone. The last thing he wanted was a witness remembering his face.

He counted the joints in the concrete as he walked. Numbers forced him to think logically, kept his mind off what he had to do. He didn’t want to kill Nino. He had to. It seemed as if all of his life he was doing things he didn’t want to do. He shook his head, focused on the numbers again.

When he drew near the house, he cast a quick glance to ensure the neighbors’ cars weren’t there. The door took less than thirty seconds to open. He kept his hat and gloves on, walked into the kitchen, and set his bag on the counter. He removed a pair of tongs and a shot glass, and set them on the coffee table. A glance around the room had him straightening pictures and moving dirty dishes to the sink. A picture of an older woman stared at him from a shelf above an end table. Might be his mother, he thought, and gently set it face down. Back to the kitchen. He opened the top of the black bag and removed two smaller bags. He set one in the fridge and took the other with him.

The contents of the second bag—hair and other items—he spread throughout the living room. The crime scene unit would get a kick out of that. He did one final check, removed a baseball bat from the bag, then sat on the couch behind the door. The bat lay on the cushion beside him. While he stretched his legs and leaned back, he thought about Nino. It would be easy to just shoot him, but that wouldn’t be fair. Renzo suffered for what he did; Nino should too. He remembered Mamma Rosa’s warnings, that the things people did would come back to haunt them. Nino would pay the price now.

A car pulled into the driveway. He sat up straight and gripped the bat.

For more of  Giacomo Giammatteo’s work:

Online sales links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007UNJJYI

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/NK6oqO

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/murder-takes-time/id593283220?mt=11

Google: http://bit.ly/1jmALEe

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/MURDER-TAKES-TIME/book-EYyE6dSy0GSQM4cu9IIzg/page1.html?s=gm40hRi4bEiPA241VefjbA&r=2

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=giacomo+giammatteo

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/giacomo4giammatteo

 

Website, blog and online social accounts:

http://giacomogiammatteo.com

http://nomistakes.org

https://twitter.com/JimGiammatteo

http://www.facebook.com/GiacomoGiammatteo

www.pinterest.com/jgiammatteo

http://gplus.to/GiacomoGiammatteo

http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimgiammatteo

 

The Write Stuff – Sunday, April 20 – Interview With Author Richie Earl

This edition of The Write Stuff features Richie Earl, a fantasy author who hails from the South Wales town of Merthyr Tydfil. As Richie tells it, about 200 years ago, Merthyr was world renowned as a major industrial town, particularly for its production and exportation of iron. Around that time, a gentleman named Richard Trevethick built the first steam engine to run on a rail track. That journey began just a couple of hundred yards from where he now lives.

Richie EarlRichie Earl is the writer of fantastical fantasy adventures. Earl’s first series, Tales of Finndragon, is a two part young adult adventure which started life as a bedtime story for his three children. They nagged him so much that he finally agreed to write a novel. Only one book was intended, but Earl came to realise that a second was required.

Earl was offered a publishing contract by a small Welsh press, but after much deliberation and discussion with the publisher, decided not to accept the offer. This proved to be a shrewd move, as he later discovered the press was struggling to meet the costs of publishing and has since moved its business solely into the field of printing.

Earl is currently working on two projects, a young adult paranormal mystery and another fantasy adventure, which may turn into a trilogy.

Legend of Finndragon's Curse

Richie, will you tell us a little about Tales of Finndragon’s premise?

Three children racing against time, desperately searching for their missing father.

A medieval kingdom cursed by an evil wizard.

An ancient legend beneath our very feet.

The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is the first book in a unique, two book fantasy adventure series and is a fast paced, engaging and thrilling page turner. The story races along with plenty of twists and turns as it heads for the prophesized confrontation between the children and the evil Finndragon himself.

Combining wizardry and magic with modern technology and containing magical animals and terrible demons, The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is a rollercoaster of emotions that will make you laugh out loud and then fight to hold back the tears, as the children race against time to rescue their father. In doing so they have to kill Finndragon and put an end to the dreadful curse.

A young adult adventure that is sure to be enjoyed by all ages.

As you said, your children prompted you to put the story down on paper. Can you tell us a little more?

Emma, Megan and Scott are the middle names of my own children and their characters were born in bedtime stories I made up for my kids. Although older than my children, they have similar personalities, strengths and weaknesses.

I think subconsciously at first, the legend was based on my own childhood exploring the ruins of Morlais Castle in the town of Merthyr Tydfil, where I have lived all my life.

Presenting such a personal tale to a broader audience requires a certain amount of courage.

A couple of hours before the book went live on Amazon, I received an email from a small Welsh publisher expressing an interest in my manuscript, which had been sent out some six months before. I was subsequently offered a publishing contract, and agreed a deal. However, for various reasons, I didn’t sign the contract, which I keep as a reminder that my work was deemed worthy of publication by a professional organisation.

If someone were to ask why they should buy your book, what would you tell them?

Anyone who enjoys a tale of adventure will be captivated by the childrens’ relentless search for their missing father. Demons and medieval magic neatly dovetail with 21st century technology, and there are many twists and turns along the way.

Readers have compared the story with works by Enid Blyton and Tolkien, as well as other great writers and there have also been analogies drawn with The Wizard of Oz.

The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is a story that can be read and enjoyed by readers aged ten to 1500 years and older, although some of the vocabulary might be a little testing for younger readers.

Fantasy certainly appeals to children. What does it hold for you?

I started writing stories for young adults because I wanted to entertain my own children, but also hope that my books might have a wider appeal. I was greatly influenced by David Eddings, having read The Belgariad and The Mallorean when I was in my early twenties, and I just love creating realistic new worlds.

That’s part of my fascination, too. Are you working on another fantasy adventure?

I’m currently working on an as yet untitled YA paranormal murder mystery, which I hope will be ready for release before the end of the year.

That was an unexpected answer. What else have you written?

I have written a collection of poetry and the first two books in a rhyming picture book series for young children. I intend to publish these projects at a later date, but for the immediate future I want to continue to concentrate on YA fantasy.

Since you are obviously multi-faceted, do you have any other pet projects you’d like to share?

Helping other self-published authors means a lot to me, knowing how hard it can be to market and promote one’s work. Last September I launched a new blog which aims to provide a platform for such writers. One Thousand Worlds in One Thousand Words allows science fiction and fantasy authors to showcase the first one thousand words of their books. There are also author interviews and I have a few review partners who share reviews from their own book blogs.

Those who are reading this should know that your blog is how we first met. Since we are still becoming acquainted, with your permission, I’d like to ask a few personal questions.

 If you could have done anything differently, what would it have been?

I now realise that my true talent lies in writing and given the chance, I would ensure that I sought out and took advantage of opportunities to hone that talent from an early age.

What makes you laugh?

I think that I have a good sense of humour and can laugh at almost anything, from the classic old comedies such as Laurel and Hardy to more modern day comedies such as American Pie and Something About Mary. I particularly enjoyed Groundhog day and there is a slightly macabre element of that in the Tales of Finndragon series.

I try not to, but I am unable to stop myself laughing when someone falls over. However, my middle child (Megan in the books) can make me laugh by raising her eyebrows, or just by laughing herself.

What are a few of your favorite authors?

I grew up enchanted by Enid Blyton, reading virtually everything she ever had published, but probably my favourite books as a child were the Just William series by Richmal Crompton. David Eddings, as I mentioned earlier, has been a major influence on my choice of genre. Making History by Stephen Fry is one of my favourite books.

Alright, Richie. Lightning Round. The one thing I cannot do without is:

My smart phone

Hard copy or ebook?

Ebook – my phone is loaded with all the books on my to read list.

Favorite book:

Making History by Stephen Fry

Favorite Movie:

Chitty Chitty BangBang

Do you have a parting thought you would like to leave us with?

Don’t forget the three Rs: Read – Write – Review

I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing your time and your thoughts with us.

Those of you who have dropped by to visit should know that Richie’s books are available through the following sites:

 Amazon – for kindle

The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse:    http://viewBook.at/FinndragonsCurse

Return to Finndragon’s Den:               http://viewBook.at/ReturntoFinndragonsDen

Lulu Publishing – paperback:  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/finndragon

Other pertinent links are:

One Thousand Worlds in One Thousand Words blog: http://onethousandworlds.blogspot.co.uk/

Tales of Finndragon Facebook Page:              https://www.facebook.com/finndragonscurse

Goodreads Author Page:         https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6523833.Richie_Earl

Twitter (@finndragons):         https://twitter.com/finndragons

Book Trailer:               http://youtu.be/gXeh-pzIHSI

Lastly, so you can sample Richie’s writing, he has agreed to provide a short excerpt taken from the beginning of Return to Finndragon’s Den, during the children’s search for the lost kingdom of Morgannwg (pronounced More-gan-oog).:

Once in the water, Emma held a heavy rock which helped her sink, and swiftly entered the watery tunnel. She swam as quickly as she could, shining the torch ahead. Even its powerful beam could only illuminate a few feet in front of her. The tunnel was almost a perfect cylinder, about six feet in diameter and snaked its way along. With each turn Emma hoped she might emerge once again from the chilly water. She was becoming concerned that she’d already travelled a long way, when in fact she’d only gone about thirty feet. She looked at her watch; she’d been in the water one minute. In another minute Megan and Scott would start reeling her in. She started to feel a little panicky, but she could hear Dad saying, “Stay calm, Em, once you panic you’ll fall off.” But that was when he was teaching her to ride a bike. Still she thought, don’t panic, don’t panic.

Her lungs were starting to burn, she could feel invisible arms squeezing her chest, slowly beginning to choke the life out of her. Emma gently let some air out of her lungs, still kicking her legs. She shone the torch upwards, the roof of the cave vanished and the tunnel turned ninety degrees upwards. This must be it, she thought. The way out, as she pushed off the tunnel floor and swam upwards for all she was worth.

Scott was looking very anxiously at his watch. “That’s one and a half minutes now Meg. We’re going to have to pull her out. Get ready.” Megan took hold of the rope too, although they kept feeding it out. “Ten seconds and we pull for all we’re worth!” Megan nodded. He counted down the last five seconds. “Five, four, three, two, one, pull!” He shouted.

Wait Scott; give her a few more seconds!” Megan pleaded. They waited another ten seconds.

“We can’t leave it any longer, we’ve got to pull now,” and they did.

Emma reached the surface, and took in the largest gasp of the loveliest air she’d ever breathed; she felt under the water, reaching for the rope tied to her ankle, ready to give two huge pulls. But before she got a grip she was yanked downwards, back into the deep water, dragged feet first.

Megan and Scott pulled vigorously on the rope; hand over hand, both terrified that it may be too late to save Emma. The wet rope started to gather behind them, but then went tight and they couldn’t pull any more, however hard they tried.

Scott cried out, “Emma must be stuck, or the rope has snagged on something. What do we do now, Meg?”

“I’ll have to dive in and go and find her!” she said, less than confidently.

Emma clawed at the tunnel walls as she plummeted, she tried to reach down towards her ankle, but it was hopeless against the force of being pulled feet first. She dropped the torch, which was no use to her any more. She knew she couldn’t survive being pulled back all the way through the tunnel. That one large gasp of air barely replenished her empty lungs, let alone prepared her for a return journey, however fast. Emma thought quickly, she had one chance to save her life, miss it and she knew she would die. As she reached the bottom of the vertical shaft she might have a split second were she could get some sort of a grip, before she entered the horizontal section.

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The Write Stuff – Monday, April 7 – Interview With Author LJ Cohen

Welcome to the second installment of The Write Stuff. I am pleased to have Sci-fi/fantasy author LJ Cohen as my guest. We were first introduced as contributors to the now-defunct, but once highly successful blog, Black Ink, White Paper, http://blackinkwhitepaper.wordpress.com/, a writers’ co-op. I always enjoyed her upbeat posts, so I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed.

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LJ Cohen is the writing persona of Lisa Janice Cohen, poet, novelist, blogger, local food enthusiast, Doctor Who fan, and relentless optimist. Lisa lives just outside of Boston with her family, two dogs (only one of which actually ever listens to her) and the occasional international student. Committed to walking a hybrid road to publication, she is represented by Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency and has published books under her own imprint, Interrobang Books. When not doing battle with a stubborn Jack Russell Terrier mix, Lisa can be found working on the next novel, which often looks a lot like daydreaming. Her work is as eclectic as her interests and includes science fiction, fantasy, magical realism for young adults and adults.

LJ, I know you released your latest book, FUTURE TENSE, just over eight weeks ago. Can you sum up the story?

In the ten years since his parents died in a fire he predicted but couldn’t prevent, seventeen year old Matt is trying to stay out of trouble, biding his time until he graduates and ages out of foster care. All he wants is for the world to leave him alone so he won’t be tortured by seeing someone’s future he’s powerless to change anyway. But his plans for keeping himself aloof fail when he interrupts a vicious attack on Amara, a girl he recognizes from school. Despite his best attempts to push her away, he can’t ignore the connection they’ve formed. That’s when glimpses of Amara’s dangerous future start to invade the present — a future he fears is his fault. Now Matt has something to lose again . . . and something to fight for.

Ah! I love stories involving precognition. What led you to write this one?

Nearly all my books spring from a single idea or image. That’s the stone tossed in a pond. From that single impact, the story develops in concentric circles, that ripple out from the center. For FUTURE TENSE, my starting point was the phrase “run-away”. Ultimately Matt was not a run-away, but a foster child, but the initial image was what drove the process.

I knew I wanted to write about someone in an inner-city, someone beaten down by life, and someone afraid to connect to others. From that, I needed to decide what had happened to Matt and what kept him isolated and afraid.

It was also important to me to write about characters who lived in a diverse world. Representation matters. It matters a lot. And too few fantasy books for young people feature characters who are not our cultural ‘default’ of white and middle-class.

Breaking the mold is important to me, as well. Young readers, young people in general, are becoming increasingly accepting of diversity and a non-standard reality. Anything else cooking on the front burner?

I am currently writing a sequel to THE BETWEEN, tentatively titled, TIME AND TITHE. It’s been a struggle for a number of reasons. First, because in many ways, starting fresh with a new idea and a new plot means you have free reign to simply create. Writing a sequel means you have to pay attention to continuity and style. Second, it’s a difficult story because of how I set up time passing between the Mortal and Fae realms. For one character, only about 6 months have passed. For another, more than 10 years have passed.

Both of these characters, sisters, have to cope with the significant changes that have taken them in different paths. In the sequel, they are now the same age, where in THE BETWEEN, there was a nearly 10 year difference between them. It makes for a very interesting dynamic.

For those of you not acquainted with LJ’s work, THE BETWEEN was her debut novel. The first of eight, so far. I think we’d all like to see how you handle this twist. And, since everything you’ve told us so far about your writing breaks the mold, I want to ask why you chose this genre. I’m getting a feeling for why, but I’d really like you to put it into words.

My favorite books to read are those that expand my imagination. I guess I never outgrew my need to believe in the magical and the wondrous, so it just felt natural to write in the genres that welcomed the slightly odd or the seriously strange. Even when I set my stories in a more realistic world, as I did with FUTURE TENSE, elements of the fantastic sneak in. In this case, Matt’s precognitive visions and, to a lesser extent, the mystery of Trina’s drawings.

Can you go into more detail about what sets your writing apart from other authors in your genre?

I always say that I imprinted on “A Wrinkle in Time” at a young and impressionable age, so like a duckling, that’s the model I am forced to follow. What was groundbreaking about that book, (now 50 years old and still relevant!) is that it’s centered around a less-than-perfect protagonist and her important relationships with family and a non-romantic friendship. Meg was the first main character that I could truly identify with growing up. Reading about her made me believe that I could be the hero of my own story.

So many of the books written for young adults, regardless of genre, revolve around a beautiful and desirable protagonist involved in a love triangle. I realize ‘realistic’ is an odd word to use when I write speculative fiction, but the ‘soul mate’ and love triangle tropes feel highly manufactured and terribly overused. I want to see more stories of teens finding their own voices and strengths, and forging solid friendships. These are the stories I write.

Alright, LJ, I’ll ask you to put it concisely: why should someone but your books?

In all my books, readers will find stories of ordinary people whose choices lead them to extraordinary adventures. I strive for emotional honesty and integrity in every page. It is my hope that my readers will find both a story they enjoy and a story that moves them.

 Before we leave the topic of writing behind, please tell us a little more about your work.

My debut publication is THE BETWEEN, a story of what happens when Lydia, a Fae changeling, is left to be a Mortal for too long and how Oberon and Titania get more than they bargain for when they try to use her as a pawn in their ongoing war.  It’s available in print and eBook formats.

I am currently preparing a science fiction novel for publication by Summer of 2014. DERELICT: When Rosalen Maldonado tinkers with the derelict space ship, she didn’t count on waking its damaged AI or having 3 stowaways on board. If the 4 teens can’t figure out how to work together, they’ll die together, victims of a computer that doesn’t realize the war ended decades before its accidental crew were even born.

I’m hardly a teen, but your stories intrigue me. Let’s find out about you, now. Do you have another job aside from writing?

I am currently writing ‘full time’, though I find that designation a little odd, because I’m not sitting at my computer from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, writing. When I started writing my first novel, 10 years ago, I had a 25-30 hour a week physical therapy private practice and balanced my work life with my home life (my children were 8 and 11) and my writing life. In those days, I learned to write in chunks of time of 15 minutes, wherever I could carve them out.

About 5 years ago, I shut down my practice because of needing to balance the needs of my own children and the increasing needs of my elderly, ill parents. Along the way, I was able to devote increasing amounts of time to my writing life. I’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to keep hearth and home together without needing me to return to my clinical practice.

Very fortunate, indeed. Alright, fantasy time: If you could live anywhere—no obstacles whatsoever—where would you live?

This is dream big time, right? Not remotely realistic? Then if a genie granted me that wish, I would spend 6 months a year on a sailboat in some warm and tropical climate, and 6 months in the mountains near incredible powder and endless blue skies where I could ski without lift lines.

Let’s push fantasizing one step further. What would be your dream job?

This writing thing. Even on days when the words are a struggle, it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

I certainly agree. Returning to a more earthly tone, can you share something about your home life?

I do a lot of daydreaming, while I’m doing all the other things that need to happen in a life. So when I’m walking the dogs, or cooking dinner, or folding laundry, I’m also thinking about story. I struggle to find balance between the time I’m sitting at the computer, especially the distractions of social media, and everything else. Because I tend to the obsessive/persistent, I can get stuck in researching something, or simply refreshing my G+ page, waiting for comments on something I’ve posted. I’ve had to install an add-on to my browser called LeechBlock which I set to limit all social media websites to 10 minutes every 2 hours during my writing time.

Sounds like something I could use!

I’m also fairly obsessive about local food. And since I live in New England, where we have a fairly short growing season, eating locally and in season, means I do a lot of preserving. So I’m this contradiction: I love technology and computers (ohh, shiny!) and I do this old fashioned canning and preserving. I’m very proud of my pantry. If you came to visit, I’d serve fresh bread and home made preserves along with tea, served in mugs I made on the wheel.

Ah! A ceramicist!

Oh, and don’t call me during Red Sox games.

I’ll consider myself warned. Alright. Last question before the lightening round. What do you do when things get rough? How do you pick yourself up?

I’m pretty good in a crisis. It’s in the aftermath that I tend to fall apart. In the past 5 years, our family has experienced serious illnesses, death, and disasters, but we’re still standing. I use humor, particularly dark humor,  to diffuse stress. Also, my husband is incredibly supportive and he helps me be at my best. Yoga is a recent discovery and has become my exercise of choice, keeping me grounded and sane. But through it all, I write. Poetry, especially, is the form I turn to during adversity. I have journals filled with fragments of poems and inner thoughts written during the year after our house fire (2011) and the year my mother died (2012). Those journals helped me process what I was feeling at the time, but I haven’t been brave enough to open and re-read them.

Nonetheless, these are the sort of things that help grow a writer. Alright. Fast and furious. Answer these as quickly as you can. The one thing I cannot do without is:

Laughing with my family.

In one or two words, what is your defining trait?

Optimism and stubbornness.

Hard copy or ebook?

Both?

Hah! Vice? Virtue?

Dark chocolate. It’s both.

Favorite book:

That’s like asking which is my favorite child!

Favorite movie:

Local Hero

Thank you so much, LJ, for having joined us today. I really enjoyed chatting with you. I’d like all our readers to remember that FUTURE TENSE, her most recent work, published February 2014, is available through the following links:

3.5 LJCohen-FutureTenseCoverArt_rev88_EBOOK_COVER_1280h

Amazon ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I9NHBRU

Amazon print book: http://www.amazon.com/Future-Tense-LJ-Cohen/dp/0984787046/

CreateSpace print book: https://www.createspace.com/4647795

B&N ebook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-tense-lisa-cohen/1118578738

iTunes ebook: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lj-cohen/id496598411?mt=11

Smashwords ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/406102

 

I asked LJ to provide and excerpt from FUTURE TENSE. Here it is, for your enjoyment:

I didn’t smoke, and I didn’t drink. It wasn’t because I was some freaking choir boy, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. After Mr. Murphy, my ninth grade math teacher died, I spent the better part of that year drunk or high. It didn’t do anything to erase the visions of his car slamming into a concrete barrier and smearing his body parts all over the icy pavement. If anything, the more stoned I got, the stronger and more frequent the visions became. The headaches that followed got so bad, I thought my head would explode. Eventually, I got sober.

When Mrs. P called us in for Sunday supper, Dante’s eyes were clearer and he had changed his clothes. Whatever. It wasn’t my problem. The girl from school took up most of my brain space. It didn’t make sense. I never had visions before of someone I didn’t have a connection to.

Besides, what I saw this time wasn’t a car crash, or a natural disaster, or a shooting. This was me threatening some girl I didn’t even know. Maybe I couldn’t stop all those terrible things from happening to other people, but I sure as hell could stop myself from hurting someone. I would just stay away from her. No matter what. It was only a few months before I could get out of the system and be on my own. I just had to make it until them.

Trina set her stub of a pencil down and carefully shimmied into the seat next to me. I raised an eyebrow. Mrs. P shrugged. Trina always sat on Mrs. P’s left. As long as I’d been at the Powells’ place, that was Trina’s seat, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She would scream if someone else sat there.

“You don’t mind helping her, do you Matt?” she asked.

Mrs. P usually cut Trina’s food and made sure nothing touched anything else on her plate. I smiled and shrugged one shoulder. It would give me an excuse not to talk too much at the table.

“I’m going to try out for the school play,” Lola said. “Mrs. Cramer said I had the loudest voice in the class.”

I winced. She definitely had the loudest voice here. If Dante did somehow screw up, Lola would probably be the one to let us all know about it.

“That’s great, Lola,” Mr. Powell said. “Break a leg.”

Jack swallowed hard, and his cheeks got red. “That’s not nice!”

When he had come here, green and purple bruises covered his skinny arms and legs.

“Oh, honey,” Mrs. P said. “It’s okay. That’s just something you say to actors and actresses to wish them luck.”

Jack drew his dark eyebrows over confused hazel eyes as he watched Lola for a few minutes. “Break your arm, Lola.”

“Not quite, Jackie,” Mr. P said, “but close enough.”

Everyone laughed around the table, even Dante, who usually stayed in his own little pot-fueled universe.

I glared at him, and he smirked back.

Really, I didn’t care what the hell he did as long as he wasn’t dealing out of the house or getting the kids turned on to his shit. The Powells weren’t stupid just because they were nice. They’d figure Dante out soon enough.

No one noticed when Trina leaned close to me to tug on my sleeve. I turned to her, figuring she needed something else to eat, but her plate was still full. It looked like she had taken exactly one spoonful of everything. As I tried to turn back to the conversation, she patted my arm, her amber eyes staring directly into mine.

Seconds passed and she didn’t blink. I could feel my face heat up. Normally, she couldn’t cope with eye contact, but I was the one who shied away.

“Don’t be scared, Mattie,” she whispered, squeezing my arm one last time before letting me go.

Four words. Four more words than she’d spoken to anyone. Ever. And she said them to me.

I looked around the table, but everyone was still talking to Lola and Jack.

“Trina?” Her empty gaze slipped past me, staring at nothing again, or maybe she watched her waggling fingers.

A chill crawled down to the base of my spine, and I wasn’t hungry anymore.

 

If this interview has intrigued you, you may follow her at:

Website: http://www.ljcohen.net

Blog: http://www.ljcbluemuse.blogpost.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LJCohen/203636299678429

Google+: https://www.google.com/+LisaCohen

Twitter: @lisajanicecohen

Next time around on The Write Stuff, I will be interviewing Welsh author Richie Earl. Although most of these interviews will air on a Monday, because of Richie’s Kindle Countdown schedule, he has asked me to post it on Sunday, April 20. See you then.

The Write Stuff – Monday, March 24 – Interview With Author Oliver Dahl

Welcome to The Write Stuff: a bi-weekly series of author interviews that will continue throughout most of this year and, hopefully, into next year as well. The featured guests hail from not only the United States, but also from Canada, Europe and Australia. Some are soon-to-be published or are in the process of launching their debut novels at the time of their interview. Others have already released one or more books and some are established, best-selling authors. No matter what kind of writing you are drawn to, be it mainstream literature or genre fiction—including thrillers, mystery, fantasy/sci-fi, YA and all varieties of romance—whether you prefer non-fiction or historical fiction, there will be something here for every one of you. Mark your calendars or sign up on this website’s email list, but beginning today, Monday, March 24, The Write Stuff will feature some of the world’s most interesting and exciting writers every other Monday. Today is no exception.

I was considering whom to feature in this debut issue, when Amazon best-selling author of the YA Thrillers To Cache a Predator and Scattered Links, Michelle Saint-Germain Weidenbenner, tossed me a curve ball. She told me about a sixteen-year-old author who has been attracting a great deal of attention and thought he would be a perfect fit for this venue. Now it is rare for someone so young to write well, to see something as complex as a book through to its end, let alone several as this one has. After learning more about him, I decided she was right. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce Oliver Dahl.

 

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Born in 1998, Oliver Dahl is the oldest of five children and lives in Idaho. Previous to finishing middle school, “The Dreamers” had made Oliver one of Idaho’s Top 50 Authors (2011) & its 2012 Student of the Year. Both “The Dreamers” and its sequel, “The Nightmarers”, have spent time at the top of Amazon Category Bestseller lists. Oliver enjoys reading, blogging, vlogging, and laughing at his own jokes. On March 11 of this year, Oliver released “Lies: Ann Putnam Jr.’s Recounting of the Salem Witch Trials,”

Oliver, you have accomplished so much already. Do you have any more books up your sleeve?

I’m currently working on my next book, entitled “Beneath.” (More info at www.oliverdahl.com/beneath). It takes place in a world underneath the catacombs of Paris. After a boy is kidnapped by the people who live there, he must fight to escape the world all the while making friends, stopping a villain and saving both worlds. It’s a modern epic fantasy that’s my longest book yet. While still only a little bit into the writing process, it is over 50,000 words. I’m really excited about it.

Many authors much older than you would consider 50,000 words quite enough. It sounds as if you are moving out of novellas and into full-length novels. Good for you. Why have you chosen to write an epic fantasy?

While my most recent book, “Lies,” is historical fiction, my favorite genre (both to read and write) is modern fantasy—stories that take place in “the real world” but have elements of fantasy realistically implemented within our world. (Examples include Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Gregor the Overlander, etc.) I love it because it allows me to shape the world around me in crazy, absurd ways, and make people wonder if the impossible is actually that.

What you are accomplishing makes you quite unusual for someone your age. Is your writing as unique as you are?

My stories are YA, so told by a young adult/teenage character. Compared to adult writers, who have been out of their teenage years at least for a little while, I have immediate first-person perspective into the teenage life. So being, I feel like I can write more realistic, believable teenage characters. I am one, so it’s really just writing what’s already in my head. (This usually involves a lot of sarcasm, dumb jokes, and tangents)

Alright then, please tell us why someone should buy your books.

To have great adventures and experiences without having to leave your favorite chair. (You know the one). “Lies” specifically has been received extremely well, people remarking at how thought-provoking and beautiful it is. To hear that I was able to relate a historical event via historical means and maintain people’s interest to the point that they finish the book in a single night is amazing! (Another reason would be because it really helps me out as a young author aiming to be a career author when I’m older )

Can you tell us something about your other works?

I’ve written a middle grade modern action/scifi/fantasy series entitled “The Dreamers Adventures.” Consisting of two books, (The Dreamers & The Nightmarers) the short series follows the adventures of Sam Kullen, a boy who discovers he can live inside of his dreams. In them, he meets other people like him and helps them save the Dream Realm from the evil Malfix. Though they’re middle grade, I have, quite surprisingly, had many adults enjoy them as well!

From the way you’re handling yourself in such a public forum as this, I’m not surprised. What else do you do outside of writing?

 I actually just go to school. I’m a sophomore in High School and that adds its own challenges to the existing challenges of being an author. I also intern at Strategic Mobili, a local social media marketing company specializing in Facebook advertising.

Interning while still in high school says a lot about you. Alright, since you like to write fantasy, let’s fantasize for a moment. Given a choice of anywhere in this world, where would you choose to live?

 Though I have yet to visit, (but will hopefully someday!—Hey, another reason to read my books, haha) Paris is just beautiful. I would love to have a little flat and write through the morning, then go out and explore and have great food the rest of the day.

Ha! Great choice. One of mine, as well. Since you just made me laugh, what makes you laugh?

 I have a random, and occasionally dark sense of humor. Antijokes, Anti-anti jokes, and puns usually do the job, though.

So there’s a dark side. Alright. On a more somber note, what would you say is your greatest life lesson?

 It’s probably just the question “Are you what you want to be?” I just heard it the other day and it really struck me. If the answer is no, why not? Get to work so that you are! Work to achieve the status of being what you always wanted to be. It’s rather inspiring and motivating, I think.

A few more quick questions. Who are some of your favorite authors?

 Oh boy. Here we go. Richard Paul Evans, Obert Skye, Brandon Mull, (all three of which are super nice guys) Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan, John Green, Brian Jaques, Roald Dahl (to which I have no real relation, sadly) Lemony Snicket, Shel Silverstein, Gary Paulsen, John Flanagan, Margaret Peterson Haddix, the list goes on.

Your favorite book?

 For the longest of times, it was The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games). I actually liked this series more than The Hunger Games. Recently, my favoritism has shifted to DJ Machale’s Pendragon series. They’re such great adventures, taking place on beautifully shaped worlds.

Your favorite movie?

I really like Inception. It reminds me of my “Dreamers Adventures Series” but more intense, dark, serious, and gritty. (Qualities that I enjoy).

Hard copy or paperback?

 Hard copy all the way. I don’t mind eBooks, though. The bookshelf value alone is a swaying factor for me. It just feels better to read a book than read off of a screen.

Oliver, I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. I’m so glad Michelle introduced us. Before I call our time to a close, would you care to leave us with a final thought?

 Thanks for having me! I hope you’ll all visit my website. Come say hi. I can’t wait to meet you all!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think this was a great debut for “The Write Stuff.” If you would like to learn more about my guest and his latest release, “Lies,” here are a few useful links:

Lies front cover 3.5 x 4.6 

 

Amazon Link: http://viewbook.at/LiesOD [This link works and redirects people to the Amazon store of the country they’re in. US, UK, CA, etc.]

If you would like to download two free chapters, go to http://books.noisetrade.com/oliverwdahl/lies-ann-putnam-jrs-recounting-of

Website: www.oliverdahl.com

Blog: www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/oliverwdahl

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorOliverDahl

 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you will drop by again on Monday, April 7, when I will interview Sci-fi/fantasy author, L.J. Cohen.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

#mywritingprocess

I was tagged by Fran Veal http://www.franveal.com to take part in what has become a worldwide, tag team blog tour. If you’re a Twitter user and enjoy this post, please Tweet it up and follow me, as well. In this tour, I am asked to answer the following four questions, so here goes:

1) What am I working on? 

At present, I am revising Thought Gazer. It is the first volume of a prequel trilogy to my debut novel, the epic fantasy, Awakening. I have already begun writing Foreteller, the second volume of the trilogy, but because its story hinges on several events that occur in Thought Gazer, I have returned to it, both to refresh my memory and to begin one of the necessary revision passes I describe below.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most works of fantasy involve dragons, wizards, elves and magic. Awakening, however, is set in a world where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write to get to the heart of what motivates people, to learn what makes them tick. In certain novels involving the real world—thrillers or mysteries, for example—it’s too easy to get caught up in the events surrounding the characters. On the other hand, in the kind of tales I write, because the world is so alien, after the reader’s initial fascination with its uniqueness wears off, they begin focusing on what they can more easily relate to. The characters move to the forefront and become the center of the story. Take a moment to examine readers’ reviews http://amzn.to/1eu75Rj  and you will notice that, time and again, they refer to the characters and the situations I put them in. This, then, becomes a character-driven story, not just an action adventure.

4) How does your writing process work?

Whenever I decide to begin a book, without having to give it much thought, a scene springs to mind. I can see it vividly. I know the names of the people populating it and something of their present circumstance. It is as if I am peering into an event that is happening at the moment, or has already happened, and I am channeling it, writing it down as it unfolds. At that point, I do not know where the story is going, but it is important I do early on. It’s like climbing into a car. If I decide I am driving to New York, I will eventually get there. The story can take unexpected twists and turns and can introduce me to characters I never contemplated, but if I know where the story is going, I will eventually arrive at its proper conclusion. I usually know what that must be by the second or third chapter.

Once I’ve arrived at the ending, I will reread what I have written. Inevitably it’s pretty ugly—punctuation errors, poorly constructed sentences—very raw stuff indeed. Now the real writing begins. Over two or three more passes, I begin correcting the obvious mistakes. After the first of these, I hand the forsaken mess over to my poor wife, who then goes over it for typos I’ve missed or inconsistencies. If I haven’t already created several supporting documents during the first write, I begin creating them now. I create a Timeline, a breakdown of what occurs chapter by chapter. I have documents called People and Places where I store relationships and descriptions that must be consistent throughout the work. Another key document is called Loose Ends: matters I have initiated at certain points in the book that MUST be tied up before the story’s over. Lastly, I have a document called Working Chapter. If I am editing Chapter 3, I never alter the original manuscript. I copy the entire chapter into this document and make all my corrections here. Then, when I am satisfied, I replace what I had originally written. That way, if I mess things up too much while I am editing, I can return to the original Chapter 3, copy it into the Working Chapter and begin again.

Once I have completed these initial passes, I put the manuscript away and begin writing a new one. Months later, when the second manuscript is ready to put away, I reopen the first and begin reading it with new eyes. At that point, if there are still any errors, they leap off the page and everything begins again. Usually however, they are minimal and the kind of problems I encounter at this point have to do with pacing and adding the little details that allow the reader to step inside each character’s mind, to see through their eyes and feel as if (s)he is really part of the scene (s)he is reading.

 

It’s my turn now to pass the baton to the following authors. Visit their blogs next Monday, February 17, to see how they write.

Eden Baylee is an author of multiple genres, writing her first mystery novel due 2014.       http://www.edenbaylee.com

Michelle Weidenbenner is a novelist, blogger, encourager, and tennis junkie writing random stories that move her, that show up in her thoughts from the people and situations that inspire her.           http://www.randomwritingrants.com

Natasha Brown was once awarded with a Hershey’s bar ‘the size of a Buick’ in her High School English class for creative writing, and since then her passion and interest in writing (and chocolate) has never dimmed.  www.theshapeshifterchronicles.com

 

Welcome!

Thank you for stopping by. Hopefully, you’ve done so because you are interested in learning about books, the writing process and what makes a writer tick. Although this author specializes in science fiction and fantasy, over the coming weeks and months you will find interviews with  many of today’s top authors—not only producers of these genres, but everything else including young adult novels, romance, historical fiction, thrillers and more. We will explore not only their writing process and get tantalizing hints at their works in progress, but we will also learn about the varied lives and interests that drive these American, Canadian, Australian, Asian and European creators of today’s genre and mainstream literature.

I hope to find interesting enough stories to entice you to return time and again and I invite you to subscribe to this website’s newsletter to keep abreast of the rapidly changing world of modern publishing.