Author Interview – James Reid

Today I am joined at the campfire by dark fantasy author James Reid and his magnificent beard. We chuck another on the flames and settle in for a chat about all things books.


  • Hi JMD Reid tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I am a fan of fantasy books. I always loved the works of Tolkein, Eddings, Jordan, Brooks, Weis & Hickman, and more when I was a teenager. I wanted to tell my own stories set in fantastical worlds of my own!

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The creative worlds, creatures, and powers that are impossible in the real world. It lets your imagination be its most free.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

My latest series is Secret of the Jewels, a five-book dark fantasy series that starts with Diamond Stained. It follows Obhin and Avena, two souls weighed down by their guilts and regrets.
Obhin, a palace guard who has fallen after making a tragic mistake, is now a bandit at the nadir of his life. He doesn’t care about much any longer. About the pain he causes others. But when his only friend is mortally injured, he’s spurred to save his life. Joined by Avena, a young woman the bandits have captured, they fight to keep him alive despite the objections of the bandit leader.
This act gives Obhin a chance for redemption. A new beginning, but can he find that new beginning in a city full of crime and corruption where a dark necromancer, a crime syndicate, and political unrest threatens to plunge the city into madness.

And can Avena trust this dark stranger in protecting the most important person in her life: her teacher and famed healer.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like to write characters with flaws and help them overcome them. Probably because I’m such a flawed person and it’s nice to know that people can be heroic and overcome their weaknesses.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

You need to write, write, write. I could be crap. I could be garbage. It could be nonsense. But you need to get in the habit of writing and develop your mental muscles. You can’t get better if you don’t write, write, write. If you can’t find an hour every day to write, is it really something you want to do? Something you are passionate about? This discipline can be hard to achieve, but if you can get it, you’ll start to find you finish stories and make progress.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I write everyday. I have a schedule I follow. This is my job, and I treat it. Wake up and go to my writer’s den.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I am a hybrid. I started off more of a pantser, but now I do very loose outlines of major events then write more detailed scene outlines for a few chapters at a time. I write them and that way I can evaluate how the characters reacted and what they should do next. So there is room for my loose outline to change and grow while my scene outlines generally don’t’ change much.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I am editing What Mask Hides, which is a sidequel to Secret of the Jewels. It takes place in the same time period of Secret of the Jewels and they have some connection, but each are standalone stories. It’s about a noblewoman who becomes a thief to find meaning in her empty life. Then I’m writing No One’s Tale which serves as a sequel of sorts to both series. It follows villain characters from both series as they search for new place in the world after seeing what their actions caused. One is a shapeshifter called No One who also needs to figure out who he is. In addition, I’m writing a fantasy quest series called Shadow of the Dragons. About a young boy trying to protect his childhood friend after she’s possessed by a dragon and a dark organization needs her for their nefarious goals.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I like my characters to triumph but to have difficult journeys.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Lord of the Rings. Star Wars had three awesome movies, but Disney is running it into the ground with their current soulless stories. Harry Potter is great, but J.K. Rowling should stop writing these Fantastic Beast movies. She somehow ruined the concept of a fun movie about a guy going around with magical beasts into this crazy, over the top mess.

Follow James via

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

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/61bSz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMDReid

Website: http://JMD-Reid.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.M.D.-Reid/e/B00P44PBQK/

Diamond Stained Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085X3PHYB


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Author Interview – Nikki Nelson-Hicks

Writing by the flickering flames of the campfire I see all sorts of shapes and tales cast by the light. Adventures and heroes, villains and horror. A twig snaps in the woods nearby and I look up to see my latest guest. Author Nikki Nelson-Hicks.


  • Hi Nikki tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi! I’m Nikki Nelson-Hicks and I think my interest in writing started because I am a reader. My childhood was chaotic and I found solace in stories. That is still where I find peace and the place I flee to when I need some guidance and a cosmic head rub.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The world building. Creating entire civilizations, races, religions, universes, all from the static medium of ink on paper. Think about that. It’s magic.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

This past year I’ve been putting together all the stories from the Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective series into an Omnibus. My first intention was to put them all into one volume but, yikes….it turns out the first one was 300 pages long. I had to split it into two volumes.

The first volume is already out on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. The second one, will be out hopefully in November.

The biggest obstacles I faced while writing…well, I should say re-writing, reformatting and re-editing, these stories was coming the grips that, although they were originally published by another small press company and did pretty well….they weren’t very good. Oh my. Especially that first story. Yikes. What a mess. I’ve grown as a writer and I was able to go back, make corrections, add some meat to a very decrepit skeleton and make the series not only flow better but more enjoyable for the reader.

Oh, and 2020. That pretty much got in everyone’s way.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I love to write heroes that take on the bad guys and fix wrong and make everything right. It’s the Fury in me. I put a lot of my hopes and dreams into my characters. I wish I were as strong as they are.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

I have a poster on my wall above my desk that reads:  QUIT YOUR COMPLAINING. IT’S NOT THE WORLD’S FAULT THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER. IT’S NOT THE WORLD’S JOB TO ENJOY THE STORIES YOU WRITE AND IT’S CERTAINLY NOT THE WORLD’S OBLIGATION TO PAY FOR YOUR DREAMS. NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR IT. STEAL A PEN IF YOU HAVE TO BUT STOP WHINING AND GET BACK TO WORK.

Oh, and get a chair with good lumbar support.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

When I have a deadline, everything else in my life gets put on hold. The house turns into a pigsty. Meals are whatever you can put together in a pantry. Showers are on a need-to basis. My family learns to deal with life all on their own. Momma’s got work to do.

If I’m not a deadline, I force myself to work at least two hours a day on a story. Hey, I have a day job, a family, 5 cats and 2 dogs to take care of. Two hours is a lot to carve out of my day.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I’m a hybrid. I loosely plot. I need to know the Beginning and The End. The middle bit can be a bit more muddy but I can make my through it as long as I know The End.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I write in all sorts of genres; I don’t like to get pinned down inside one box. (Although I’ve never tried Romance. I’m not sure I have the stomach for it.)

When I finally put the Jake series to bed, I have two stories I want to work on.

 One is called “Crown of Feathers”. It is based on the Appalachian legend that a crown of feathers can be found underneath the pillow of a dying person. If you find it, it means they are going to heaven There are actual examples of them in an Appalachian Folklore Museum in East Tennessee. In my story, set in the turn of the 19th century, a boy steals the Crown of Feathers from beneath his dying mother’s pillow so that Death won’t be able to take her away. Shenanigans ensue.

The other is a modern day thriller called “Hand Me Down”. Short and sweet, it is about a woman whose dark deeds from her past bleed into her present and threaten to destroy everything. There’s lots of murder in it. It’s gonna be fun.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I want my heroes to win. I want the bad guys to get what they deserve. It is bourgeois but I don’t care. If I wanted stark, dystopic reality, I’d watch a freaking history channel. Fiction helps me see a world the way it SHOULD BE and, maybe, it can teach us how to create a better one. If something can be imagined, it can be created.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Did you know that an interview question posited by the FBI is: Would you rather be a serial killer or a terrorist?  It’s a way to tell if a person is an individualist (serial killer) or team player (terrorist).

I feel the same way if a person asks if I like Star Wars or Star Trek? It’s a way to tell if a person is a team player/bureaucrat (Star Trek) or if a person is more of a rebellious streak (Star Wars).

Confession time: I have never read Lord of the Rings.  I have what I call a Tolkien Block. When I was a teenager, a group of girls started up a coven and wouldn’t allow me to join their group because I “wasn’t their type” because I didn’t read Tolkien. Ever since then, I can’t stomach it.  I didn’t even like the movies. I got bored. I mean….don’t even get me started on those damn eagles. WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST USE THE EAGLES??!?!

So, we’re down to Harry Potter or Star Wars.

Huh.

Harry Potter is fun but if you really stop and start to think about the idea of a Wizarding World that, for some stupid reason, lives in a Dickensian dystopia and doesn’t use their obviously laws of physics bending powers to aid the world at large, it starts to fall apart. Seriously. Quills over a ballpoint pen? Owl mail over Email?

Star Wars has a very warm, fuzzy spot in my heart because I was there at the beginning, sitting in the theater, 1977, when that Imperial Cruiser pulled out overhead.  My heart still races when I think of the opening overture.

Yeah. I gotta go with Star Wars (despite the terrible prequels and then even sadder sequels). At least we have The Mandalorian. #itistheway

My blog is:  https://nikkinelsonhicks.blog/

My Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/nikkinelsonhicks


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Author Interview – John B. Rosenman

The flames crackle and the light flickers as the campfire finds new vitality from the fresh kindling I’ve thrown onto the fire. The night is cold but that doesn’t stop another author making their way to warmth of the flames. Tonight I am joined by prolific sci-fi and fantasy author John B. Rosenman.


  • Hi John tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

 Hi. I’m John B. Rosenman, and I’m a retired English professor who writes speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal (and one young adult). I’ve published a couple dozen books as well as two hundred and fifty stories in places such as Weird Tales, Whitley Strieber’s Aliens, Fangoria, Galaxy, Endless Apocalypse, The Age of Wonders, and the Hot Blood erotic horror series. My novels include action-adventure scifi novels such as Beyond Those Distant Stars, Speaker of the Shakk, A Senseless Act of BeautyAlien Dreams, and the Inspector of the Cross series (Crossroad Press). I’ve also published a four-book box set, The Amazing Worlds of John B. Rosenman  (MuseItUp Publishing). Recently I completed a science-fiction novel Dreamfarer which is the first in a new series.

I love ideas and story concepts. In fact, I always have.  When I was a small child I would say to my father, “Tell me a story.” His stories by my bed at night planted the seed. I like to create alien worlds, fascinating characters, and prose and something poetry that is as good as I can make it. I also like to revise, though sometimes it’s a struggle.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

Fantasy makes the invisible visible. There are other worlds, other realms, other universes with beings as wild and as beautiful as I can make them. So-called objective reality is not the only reality. I recall a line from a movie that said you can live in the Imagination. That’s the most beautiful nation of all.  My favorite title for a science fiction / fantasy magazine was If. If you can imagine it, in some way it must be true and exist somewhere.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

Crash is due out in mid to late November. It’s the sixth novel in my Inspector of the Cross scifi / adventure series and reflects a new approach to the adventures of my hero because the alien enemy, the Cen are no longer involved. Also, Turtan loses his memory and no longer knows who he is. Oh, he faces all sorts of challenges, and I had to reimagine the whole series. Plus, I faced other challenges because circumstances required me to pack up the whole series and move it to a new publisher, Crossroad Press.

At the same time, I resurrected a novel I wrote nearly forty years ago. Dreamfarer is about a world where machines give people dreams that are so much more beautiful, exciting, and fulfilling than real life.  At the age of thirty-two, you can have yourself “interfaced” and dream the rest of your life away. What could go wrong? What’s wrong with that? Dreamfarer will be published by Crossroad Press, but I don’t have a date yet. I’m also at work on a sequel, Go East, Young Man. Like Dreamfarer it focuses on the adventures of Sam Adams, a man who had the misfortune to wake up forever from his wonderful dreams and who is determined to destroy the dream industry because of its terrible impact on humanity.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I’m addicted to noble, tormented heroes who battle evil and sinister forces. Sometimes they’re Christ-like in nature as in my Inspector of the Cross series, and occasionally they have godlike powers of healing as with Dax Rigby in Dax Rigby, War Correspondent. I put a great deal of myself in them, particularly my desire to be like them. In my mainstream, coming-of-age novel, Johnny Roth embodies two traits I yearn to have. They are to be a great boxer AND a great artist.

Sometimes I try to see things from girls’ or women’s POV. Sky in Skyburst is a fifteen-year-old girl dying of cancer. What must it be like to be a young girl faced with such a problem? Ah, but as with others of my heroes, she has great, even transcendent abilities. Stella in Beyond Those Distant Stars is turned into a cyborg after she has a radioactive accident. Like Sky she’s tormented and apparently doomed, yet she manages to find love and fight against an alien enemy that seems invincible.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Above all, never give up or let yourself be defeated by rejection and negative thoughts. If you’re a writer, you will be strong and forge on.

Beyond that — Read, read, read; write, write, write; revise, revise, revise. If possible, join a good writers’ group where expert criticism and critiques are supplied on a regular basis. Analyze everything. If a work of creative fiction astonishes you, try to identify some of the elements that make it work. Read critical articles discussing them and take a course or two in creative writing.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

If I have a deadline, I will make it because I want to be published. I guess you could say my desire is my writing trick. If there’s a deadline for submitting a short story, and I have a good idea or like the subject, well, then, I will get my story or stories in on time. The same goes for a situation in which a publisher indicates that a certain date is the deadline for getting my novel in. In this case, NOT BEING PUBLISHED is my writing trick.

Also, if a story or novel is going well, if my inspiration is hot and flowing, I tend to harness my inspiration and keep scribbling. This is especially true with a novel, which requires dedication and the long haul. Skip it for a few days or weeks, and I may never go back.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

       I’m a pantser. Often it’s like I’m wandering in a fog and only gradually does the road ahead become visible to me. I may have an idea of the eventful conclusion but no clear, overall plan of how I’m going to get there. I used to walk through a local Barnes & Noble that I found particularly conducive to inspiration and sometimes the slightest thing there would suddenly spark a story. For example, I saw a book titled The Calm Technique and instantly a story leaped almost full-blown into my head. The Death Technique is about a man who has the       gruesome ability to make his body rot and resemble a corpse. I sold it to a pro anthology.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

      I plan to finish Go East, Young Man, the sequel to Dreamfarer and see it published.  I’ve       been thinking of shifting my focus after that and concentrating on short stories. They take less time and sometimes can be written quickly. There are various publishers I’ve published with before and various anthologies and magazines that have published my fiction. It would be nice to submit short fiction to them. I also love “theme” magazines, newsletters, and anthologies. Recently I published revised, previously published stories in Flame Tree Press’s Endless Apocalypse and Dying Planet collections.  In addition, I hope to generate some new stories. Will I try Romance? I doubt it. Nor do I see myself getting into elves and faeries. But you never know. It’s better to be fresh and try new things. 

With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

   I used to like horror and dark fiction more than I do now. Heck, I was Chairman of the Horror Writers Association. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to prefer tales where the sun occasionally shines and good tends to triumph over evil. My science fiction / speculative fiction novels feature heroes who ultimately conquer or prevail over villains.  But I do love my villains, whose darkness sometimes threatens to overshadow the goodness of my heroes because it’s more compelling and interesting. I do continue to like subtle, atmospheric dark fantasy or horror, where darkness is suggested and hinted at rather than shown. Please, no extreme, gory horror, though I used to write some.

What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star Wars, I think, primarily because I sometimes write space opera novels with swashbuckling heroes and larger-than-life bad guys. I read the first two Harry Potter novels. They were okay, but I never went back.  I read the first 560 pages of Lord of the Rings and then stopped reading. Please, somebody, tell me why and where I’m wrong!

Visit his website at http://www.johnrosenman.com

Blog: http://johnrosenman.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/Writerman1

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JohnBRosenman?ref=hl   

Facebook Home Page: http://www.facebook.com/john.rosenman

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-B.-Rosenman/e/B001KMN69E

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/938855.John_B_Rosenman

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-b-rosenman-50287218

E-mail: jroseman@cox.net

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Author Interview – Michael Ross

Sitting at the campfire one night my peace was shattered by the appearance of a magical portal. Who should step through? None other than fantasy author Michael Ross the author of the Wand Chronicles.

  • Hi Michael what appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

Letting my imagination run riot. I have the imagination of a 6-year-old and always been lost in fantasy

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

Released an epic fantasy trilogy on the 1st of July. The Wand Chronicles. Charts the events and adventures that ensue when the humans meet the elves for the first time via a portal that appears on Earth. The adventures centre around a very powerful wand (not a harry potter type wand) that is sentient and integrates with the person that is using it. Of course everyone wants it, so adventures happen in trying to protect it, but we also see how the elves cope with the bumbling humans, and as the story progresses we have the very first 1/2Human/ ½ Elf, a girl called Kia a very powerful empath. Magic abounds so do lots of unusual characters from all over the cosmos   www.thewand.me

The biggest challenge was putting all my eggs in one basket, ie Amazon KDP. I did everything right, amazing website, landing page, editor, illustrator etc On its release date, Amazon lost the plot. For 17 days you couldn’t find the books, and then for another week after they appeared, each of the books said ‘Unavailable to purchase’ All Amazon said was sorry for the inconvenience?!

But now in the process of uploading to many other platforms, Kobo, Goodreads, Draft2Digital etc

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like characters that are a little bit quirky, not your normal sheep-like kind. They all have a loose kind of moral attitude.  I have an overweight fairy in my latest series called The Big Fairy Adventures. She is called Tinker Tanker but has a heart of gold. She is covered in little bruises from bumping into walls since her wings can’t cope with the excess weight. From my last epic fantasy trilogy, I have brought a favourite character over from that, he is a little human, A Chinese man called Ding Ling, he provides the humor, even in the darkest moments. There is a scene and h is in discussion with his master Hugo. Hugo is thinking of doing two major things at the same time and Ding Ling knows it will lead to disaster, so he uses Confucius sayings, to get his opinion across, in this case he says to his master, “Master, Confucius would say, ‘never take a sleeping pill if already taken a laxative tablet’”

There is a lot of myself in the characters, particularly the humor I would like to think

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Watch out for the charlatans on the marketing side out there. You will pay them money, for absolutely no guarantee you will sell lots of books. Go off personal recommendation. Please, if you are an indie publisher, put your books on more than one platform and not just one. Join up with Facebook groups for help and advice

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Not really had any problems like this. Certainly, my preparation for a books official release will happen a minimum of 3 months before its release date. I don’t stress out about getting a chapter written by a certain time. I am lucky, I can sit down and immediately write and write. I know now how long an editor needs a book, how long my illustrator needs to design the book cover and so on. I never ever leave things to the last minute, that’s a sure fire way of messing up your plans

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I am most definitely a pantser. I did try going down the apparent tried and tested route. Potting out chapters, working on characters before starting to write and so on, but it stifled my creativity. Oh I can tell you with a book its beginning, middle and end in ten minutes, but then I type directly onto my laptop, I have a very rough idea of the characters, but then let the whole adventure fill out as I write. The only problem is, I needed to know is my writing good? This is where the Beta readers can help, but more importantly, it’s when all the rave reviews come in from the public, that you know you are ok as an author

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

Working at the moment on a series called The Big Fairy Adventures. I have a big map of a fairy kingdom called Layleamonee on the wall of my authors man cave. It is covered with all sorts of little titles like, The Oberon fairy warriors, the blue whispering mountains, the Grobs, the Crags and so on, each one is a book in itself that will make up the series.

But I am about to start writing a story which is SciFi about an Android (can’t tell you much more, but there is a very interesting hook to it)

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I am a multi genre author, so have written a  true life story about a devastating tragedy, also written a book about scary stories, but I like books that are colourful, convey a whole gambit of emotions, have a touch of moral issues about them. I do have some very dark sections in my book but generally good will overcome evil

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Hmmm. Star Wars to watch, would never read this. Lord of the rings, well written but too dark and depressing and really? 4 pages to describe a character? Not many laughs either, I always feel I need to go for therapy after reading Tolkien, to improve my mood. So it has to be Harry Potter

Links to:

My website: www.thewand.me

           My Amazon Authors page: https://amzn.to/2ZPPWzd

           My epic fantasy trilogy: The Wand Chronicles on Amazon: https://amzn.to/33IWuAO

           Book one of my Big Fairy Adventures, How it all Began: https://amzn.to/3bDpgGU

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

              Twitter:    https://twitter.com/wandchronicles

           Pintrest:       https://www.pinterest.co.uk/thewandchronicles/_created/

            Instagram:    https://www.instagram.com/thewandchronicles/?hl=en

            Linked-In:     https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-ross-280532166/


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Author Interview – Caleb Kelly

Welcome to the campfire! Today we have Indie Urban fantasy author Caleb Kelly. Let’s get started before the marshmallows get too crispy!

  • Hi Caleb, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I’ve always wanted time write. It was my escape. Even in middle school I carried around a 3-ringed binder with a constant story I was writing on. I loved venturing into foreign lands and living a life free from the rules of physics we are bound by. Writing became an outlet to explore my imagination.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I write fantasy so I can break free from the fetters of reality. The real world is boring. Fantasy allows us to dig into the recesses of our mind and bring anything to life.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

My latest project has been my impending release of my Arthurian fantasy novel, Camelot’s Reckoning. It was tricky looking into all the nuances of “history” and bending it to the way I needed.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I try to separate myself as much as I can from my characters. I’ve always said that adding too much of yourself will result in writing the same character across the board. Your characters aren’t you. They have different aspirations and different desires. I try to make them flawed. They are human and humans make mistakes. It’s those repercussions that add the extra flare to a story and drive it forward.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Edit. Edit. Edit. And learn to love it. The first draft will never be gold. It will ways have room for improvement. However, one must also learn when it is time to cut the cord on a manuscript. Every author believes their story can continue to be edited years after publication. Perfection will never exist, but we can certainly strive to get as close as possible.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I do most of my writing in my breaks at work. I do some at home too, mostly when I’m changing stories. The change of setting allows me to change my mindset.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I used to be a pantser. I used to say my fingers did the writing and my brain was just along for the ride. I don’t say that anymore. I have to have an outline. Typically, chapter by chapter. Although I’m not as detailed like others are, I need a skeleton to begin adding muscle too. Without it I will float in a void.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

For now, I am sticking to urban fantasy. There aren’t alot of male urban fantasy writers, but I enjoy breaking the laws of our world with the ones I make up. I have an epic fantasy in the works, but I need more time to devote to the complexity of the storyline. I want a few other series out before I jump to that train.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I love a good hero story. The hero’s journey is an undying classic. However, villains have to be understood. A good villian should relate to the reader. One should be able to see their point of view, though their way of obtaining it may be skewed. Having elements of both styles allows for room to entice the reader on the different layers of life.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

LoTR. Without question. I like that Star Wars has an extensive universe with limitless possibilities, but Lord of the Rings has always appealed to the side of me that loves the Middle Ages. Swords and Sorcery is my bread and butter. If I can meld those with the modern world, I have accomplished what I set out to do.

Thanks Caleb!

Camelot’s Reckoning is now available for Pre-order here

Follow Caleb on Facebook and Twitter

Visit his website at – https://calebnkelly.com/

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Author Interview – Andy Freeman-Hall

The response to my call for fellow indie authors to sit by the camp fire and tell us more about themselves and their work has been fantastic! This time with the bag of marshmallows is new indie author Andy Freeman-Hall. Enjoy!

  • Hi, Andy tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

My name is Andy Freeman-Hall, I’m 29, and an ecologist in my day job. I have what I affectionately refer to as turbo-dyslexia, and after many terrifying experiences of having to read aloud at school, I became genuinely afraid of books, getting my fantasy fix from films, TV, and games instead. Then when I was finishing my master’s degree, I decided to give audiobooks a try to help pass the time with all the fieldwork I was doing. And just like that, I was hooked. After my masters, I spent a year struggling to get a job and I decided to try and write instead of sitting around doing nothing all day but wait for rejected job applications. The next thing I knew I was writing for 8-10 hours every day. That dropped down to 2-4 hours a day once I started my PhD, but since then I’ve never stopped. That was 6 years ago.  

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The ability to create entirely new, living, breathing worlds. New concepts, new systems, new ways that peoples, groups, and nations interact. Fantasy (or at least the fantasy that I love most) allows the writer to create a world with unique properties, geography, and history within which amazing stories can immerge organically. That’s what I love to see.  

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

It’s my first novel, The Sage’s Lot (Blood and Balance #1). I tried to get it published years ago when I first finished it, but it was in no way a sellable product. My skill level just wasn’t there after only 2 years of writing.

Since then I have re-written the entire novel from scratch twice because my ability had improved enough that each time it just needed a clean slate. Those were hard decisions to make but the best decisions I have ever made. When I couldn’t get the final version picked up by an agent or publisher, I gave up and started writing an entirely new series to try again at getting a book published through traditional means, but after speaking with a lot of authors and readers, I realised that self-publishing my original novel was the right way to go.

A lot of epic fantasy readers won’t even pick up a book like mine until 2 or 3 in the series are released (I’m planning eight). Now the beta-readers are all done, as are the proof-readers. I’m currently finalising the cover art and working on the maps. The Sage’s Lot will finally be released by Christmas, even if it kills me.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

My favourite characters to write are the ones with my own sense of humour. I feel like each of the main characters in my book reflects some aspect of my own personality (or some warped version of that aspect), but my two favourites are the ones that consistently make me laugh. I may be the one writing down the dialogue, but the characters are the ones coming up with what to say.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Perseverance. I forget who said it (maybe Steven Pressfield), but the only difference between a successful author and someone who just does it as a hobby is perseverance. I want to write fantasy professionally, but the only way I’m going to build my skills enough to do that is to just keep going. I didn’t stop after the 1st rejection, I didn’t stop after the 40th, and I won’t stop after the 400th. In the immortal words of Brandon Sanderson, ‘The most important step a man can take. It’s not the first one, is it? It’s the next one. Always the next step’.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Brutality in editing. My first draft meandered down so many rabbit holes that the story often got twisted up in itself. I’m a pantser, so I just write down everything that comes to mind with no predetermined endpoint. After, I have to go back and ask myself in what way each scene progresses the story. If it doesn’t, then I either tweak it so it does or (more commonly) cut it out, slice off the best bits, and splice them into another scene. If you have the problem of writing way too much like I do, you have to be brutal. No prisoners.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Pantser, 100%. When I briefly started writing a book in an entirely new series, I added in a little planning, but in reality, I’ve found that no plan survives first contact with the keyboard.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I’ll get the first 3 or 4 books in Blood and Balance rattled off and see how it’s going. I’ve got ideas for 4 other series (all fantasy) and a fairly coherent structure for one of them, but Blood and Balance is my baby. It’s the culmination of a lifetime of complex daydreams distilled into some semblance of an entertaining narrative. I need to see if it can swim on its own before testing the waters with anything else.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

Anything with characters that make the sorts of hard choices that a real person would in their situation. Most of us wouldn’t sacrifice ourselves for some forlorn cause, and I need to see characters that act that way as it grounds a book in realism, no matter how fantastical the setting. People are people. It also makes our courageous heroes who are willing to sacrifice everything all the more heroic. 

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star Wars, but again, I was terrified of books until my early twenties. The Star Wars films were my go to films as a kid and will always hold that special place reserved for a first love.

Thanks Andy!

You can follow Andy on Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals. If you’d like to do a guest post or author interview contact me via matthewolney9@gmail.com

Author Interview: Troy Young

The weather is a bit rubbish today and the wind and rain is lashing down on the campsite. Nonetheless we perservere and put up shelter to seek shelter from the elements with indie author Troy Young.

***

  • Hi Troy tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

My name is Troy Young.  I have always had a creative side, honed through playing role playing games and acting.  I also at one time owned a community newspaper, so I became adept at writing for public consumption and to a deadline.

I am a part-time university lecturer, and in one class I had a discussion with my students about what their second career would be, or what they would do if money was not an issue. Then my students asked me what I would be, and I thought about it and said novelist.  Of course, I had not been writing nor did I immediately start writing. Years passed, and still no writing was done.

Well, I was visiting my parents in Florida when an idea for a story came to me.  I came back from Florida and was telling my idea to my staff (I’m the CEO of a non-profit association) when one of my staff interrupted me to say “when are you going to stop telling us about these ideas and start actually writing them down?”  That was February, 2018.  I immediately started to write.  That novel is set to be released in November.

In the interim, I have released a compilation of cosmic horror stories, a fantasy novel, and a sci-fi novel.  The second compilation of cosmic horror stories will be released in two days’ time of this writing.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I’ve always been interested in armour and swords, the fight against good and evil.  As I noted I have played roleplaying games since I was a kid.  I also fell in love with Robert E. Howard’s Conan at a young age, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien.  I have read the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings more times than I can count.

Mainly though fantasy takes you away from reality, even if just briefly.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

The challenge as an indie author is always to convince new people to read it.  I started writing my fantasy novel, The Stone of Death, in February 2019.  I just published it on September 1.  It got shelved as I started to write my short stories. It got shelved for at least nine months.  There then was a bit of a continuity issue, as well as getting back into the characters. It finally was ready to go and I started getting a cover made (which took longer than I expected).  But it finally got published and is out there and getting read.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like misfit characters that go against reader’s expectations.  Like my characters in The Stone of Death; the main character is a former mercenary who is not a great warrior at all.  He’s untrained with a sword yet insists on wielding one because in his mind that’s what heroes do.  But he sucks.

The other “heroes” in the book are a crippled Magus, an older priest (by older I mean early 40’s, and he’s a PoC) and a LGBTQ woman who is the most capable of the bunch.  While I have included a PoC and a LGBTQ character, the fact that they are this is not relevant. It is mentioned, but nobody cares and it isn’t a big deal because it shouldn’t be a big deal.

As for how much of myself goes into the characters, there is always a touch of ourselves, but if you have the ability to create dynamic and unique characters, you need to find a voice different than your own.  You need to be introspective and aware and a good judge of human nature to effectively write a variety of characters, otherwise they will be static and boring and similar in every story you write.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Just write.  Like any skill, you need to practice it.  Write, write and write some more.  I also do most of my own editing (contrary to what everyone says).  I use both Grammarly and ProWritingAid and have at least one of them running live as I write.  It has allowed me to identify errors immediately, and has made me more cognisant of the potential error before I make it. This in turn has helped me write better, and faster.

I sent my first novel, the one from Florida, to two different copy editors and both of them returned it no charge as they could not see anything, they would need to do to improve it.  I chalk that up to practice and the two editing programs.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I don’t.  I write when I am inspired.  I don’t force myself to write every day.  I tend to plot out my next chapter in my head and write the entire chapter.  Taking breaks from writing recharges me.  I get most of my best ideas (or clarity) on a walk. Good thing my dog needs walking, so it forces me to address and deal with plot holes and the like.

I have never had a tough time hitting my deadlines.  My sci-fi novel, I managed to write it in 12 days because I was in the zone on it.  It’s sequel is on pre-order for December 16.  I am only on Chapter 8, but I know I will have lots of time to finish it.

I guess setting up a pre-order is a good way to scare you into finishing!

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Pantser.  I know where the chapter has to end, and obviously I know where I am starting, but I often don’t know how I am getting from A to B.  I start to write and the characters tell me where to go.

I remember reading something Stephen King said.  He said something along the lines of being a writer was like being a palaeontologist. The story is a fossil hidden from sight.  It is the writer’s job to uncover the story.  It already exists, you just have to brush away the dirt and expose the bones.  I like that.  Makes me think my characters are real people somewhere. Like that Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

Still have more short stories in my cosmic horror series to finish (14 of 18 are complete).  The sequel I am working on needs to be finished.  My Florida novel is part of a five part series; part 1 is ready to publish, part 2 needs a good edit, part 3 needs a major rewrite and parts 4 & 5 need to be written.  I have a half-finished historical romance I am working on (more action-adventure with romantic elements than a full-on bodice ripper).  The sequel to the Stone of Death needs to be started (it will be a four book series, each book written from the point of view of one of the four main characters; the second book is from the Magus’ point of view). So yeah, I have a lot on my plate.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I do like a good hero tale.  The best parts of a movie are when someone does something heroic. Like, when Thor in the first movie goes out to face the Destroyer armour without powers and proves his worth and gets his power back, that is awesome.  When the elves show up at Helm’s Deep (in the movies), it’s such a rush. When Arwen (again in the movies) turns to face the Nazgul and says “you want him, come get him”; oooo, chills.  When Theoden (man, I must really like LotR), after saying “Where was Gondor when we needed them?” is told about the beacons, and you know despite what he said earlier, the Riders of Rohan are going because dammit, that’s what heroes do.  That and a good redemption story are pretty awesome.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Like all three, but Lord of the Rings is where it is at.  Those three movies (along with Princess Bride) are as close to movie perfection as you can get.  Peter Jackson did an amazing job winnowing out the less important stuff from Tolkien’s epic and making it tighter.  The casting was amazing.  And movie Aragorn is way better than book Aragorn. To me, Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn is the ultimate movie hero.

Thanks Troy!

Follow Troy on Facebook and Twitter, Check out his books!

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Author Interview – Deston J. Munden

The nights are drawing in quicker and quicker but that just makes the campfire a more cozy place to be. Settle in dear reader and join me and we chat with fantasy and science fiction author Deston J. Munden.

Deston’s fantasy novel: Tavern

1.      Hi, Deston tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hiya. My name is Deston J. Munden, science fiction and fantasy author from North Carolina. I am a game art design major, who enjoys video games and Dungeons and Dragons. What inspires me to write is the passion to tell stories, exploring the creativity of my mind, and trying to help other people like me to burst through the industry. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

2.      What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

It is the limitless possibilities. Fantasy is a powerful tool to explore things that you can’t really do anywhere else. For me also, I’m a sucker for fantasy races, magic, and swords. I’m a very simple man to please when it comes to things like this. I feel like a lot of genres can hit these notes for me, but it’s still the fantasy genre as a whole that keeps bringing me back.

3.      Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

My latest fantasy project is named Duke’s Brand. It’s a story about a knight that is on a redemption quest to better himself. The most difficult portion of this character, however, was that I made him with being autistic in mind. I wanted good representation with the character and how he acts to be both accurate and liberating for people that this character is meant to display. I’ve been marketing Ser Torlyek as Neville Longbottom meets Thor from the MCU and Steven Universe. I think that’s a good selling point for anyone interested.

It should be released in December or January! It depends on my editors.

4.      What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them.

I enjoy writing the burly big guys with hearts of gold. For some reason, that tends to be the characters that I play in video game as well as my go to Dungeons and Dragon archetype. I do tend to put a little bit of myself into them though. It’s something that I don’t see much in myself, so I want to pretend to be tougher and stronger than I actually am (partly because of bullying and not being able to protect myself in the past).  Something about just being strong and living out that fantasy of protecting the people that I care about is present in a lot of my books.

5.      For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Finish that first draft. I don’t care how you do it, finish that first draft. I feel like a lot of new writers get trapped in this constant loop of writing and rewriting the first few chapters. I’ve done it myself. But that’s not how you learn how to write books. You learn how to write books by writing them, making mistakes, and learning from them. It wasn’t until I wrote a really bad trilogy before I began to learn more about how to write. If you don’t learn anything else, you learn how to write consistently and effectively after finishing your first draft of anything. So do it. Get it done. Stop pre-writing, world building, and talking about it and get the draft done.

6.      What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Writing consistently and having a planned writing schedule really has help me keep my stories on track. Before, I would either write sparingly or write out of schedule. It wasn’t until this became my full-time job where I started treating it like that. The trick is to write a little bit every day. It doesn’t even have to be a lot. There are days where I can barely manage 200 words, but I try to get other things done in the meantime. Other than that, I try to keep good notes on what I am writing and what’s going on with them for the best possible story I can manage.

7.      Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Pantser, definitely. I tend to make a lot of it up as I go. It doesn’t mean that I go in without a plan in mind. I usually have a beginning, middle, and end planned somewhat or at the very least loosely. But, I like the idea of telling myself the story first and then working my way in and filling in the blanks in the second draft. It’s an adventure to say the very least.

8.      What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

Right now, I’m sticking with my fantasy and science fiction genres. I do want to dip into some other styles of fantasy and sci-fi as I get more experienced. Right now, though, I have my hands full with the two series that I’m working with at the moment.

9.      With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I’ve always been the type that enjoy when heroes’ triumphs over the evil. I feel like fantasy has been dipping deeper and deeper into grim dark. Though I do enjoy reading these stories, they aren’t something that I would want to write in my current headspace. I just wanna see a guy or girl or non-binary pal fight some evil and takes some names while dealing with their own personal issues.

10.  What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Lord of the Rings, hands down!

You can follow Deston –

Website : www.djmunden.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deston-J-Munden/e/B07Q2D6948/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SrBuffaloKnight

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authordjmunden/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/D.J.Munden/



Book Links: 

Tavernhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PWTR89Q

Dusk Mountain Blues: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085LQJH3K

Author Interview – A.F Stewart

The sun rises over the campsite on this cool October day and from the trees emerges our latest campfire visitor, fantasy author Anita Stewart. We get the fire going and delve into what makes this author tick.

  • Hi A. F. Stewart, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?  I’m a geek, a writer of fantasy and horror, and also a bit of an artist; I like to paint and play around on Photoshop. My hobbies include reading, watching movies (I love action movies and sci-fi films), and studying history. As for writing inspirations, reading would be number one. I’ve always loved books and loved telling stories. That’s never gone away.
  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?  I love the “what if” at its core and the fantastic nature of the worlds and characters. The idea there’s something magical beyond the everyday routine has a captivating allure.
  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?  My latest project is The Camelot Immortals series. There are five books planned with a prequel collection of two short stories. The prequel, Eternal Myths, is published, and book one, Past Legends, is currently on pre-order with a release date for October 28th. The series is based on Arthurian legend, set in modern-day England, and follows the adventures of Nimue and other women of Camelot as they work save the world from impending magical doom.
    The premise of the novels is magic can make you immortal, so most of the Arthurian characters are living among us, but they’re still dealing with their emotional baggage and past sins. And woven in among this modern fantasy are more traditional fantasy elements as the characters encounter gods, elves, other wizards and creatures. Plus there’s swearing and drinking, and wizard vs. witch action battles.
    The greatest challenges in putting this series together were keeping the timeline and interwoven elements straight, and researching modern Britain. I needed to get the details right, and I know a lot more about historic Britain than its current culture.
  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them? Honestly, I enjoy writing the villains best, and even my heroes tend to be a little ambiguous in their morals. And I certainly hope there’s not much of me in those characters; they’re quite awful at times. Villains are more fun to write though, as they’re not as constrained or conflicted to the right thing. Need to destroy a village for a plot point? The villain will do it happily.
  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned? Recently, it’s scene outlining. I’ve had a much easier time writing a book by creating the outlines scene by scene as opposed to chapters, as it allows me to see how the plot points flow into each other. I can change things up, move scenes around, add scenes in, and take things out that aren’t working. And I can quick check the outline to see what a character did earlier to write in consequences later. Scene outlining has helped my plots. 
  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?  I try to plan out enough time to work on things; I really don’t like being late with anything. Writing sprints are another excellent motivator. But If I’m stuck, I take a break or maybe go for a drive in the car. That generally helps clear my head. But the weirdest thing that helps my thought process is washing dishes. I’ve worked through several plot issues over soapy china and glass.
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?  For books, I’m a plotter. I base many of my stories on or in history with mythological elements, and interweave arcs through a series or a plot. It’s easier for me to write if I outline timelines, characters, and scenes, and keep all the elements straight. However, for short stories, I usually pants those plots. I start with a beginning and an ending and fill in a few thousand words for the middle part.
  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?  I have to finish writing/editing the Camelot Immortals series by early next year, and then I want to get back to my Obsidian Blade series. That series is set in 15th century Venice and follows the assignments of an immortal assassin and troubleshooter who works for the city’s government.
  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?  All my books take a darker approach, even before the current state of things. I mix in a little horror with my fantasy (or write straight up horror stories) and not everything ends happily. As a reader, though, I like both styles.
  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?  I’m a long time Star Wars fan, so if you’re talking about the original trilogy, then that’s my pick, no question. It does lose major points for the prequels/sequels, though. So maybe it’s a tie with Lord of the Rings if they’re included. Poor Harry Potter doesn’t even make the top three cut for me.

Thanks Anita! You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and visit her website

Her new book Past Legends is due for release October 28th. Get it here

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author interview – John D. Pepe

The response to my call for indie authors to join me around the campfire and chat about books and writing has blown me away. Today we have fantasy author John D. Pepe pulling up a chair.

  • Hi, John tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi. I’m John D. Pepe. Author of The Lone Wolf.  By day I counsel high school students and at night…I’m not going to tell you what I do in the dark, lonely hours of the evening when my family sleeps (write, read, and watch TV- that’s all)

I think my inspiration for writing started at a young age.  My grandmother use to tell me stories when I was young, and I was fascinated by them.  Also, as a kid, we were outdoors a lot and used our imaginations a great deal more than the kids now a days (no videogames with awesome graphics back then).   When you couple that with copious amounts of Dungeons and Dragons and a desire to be an actor, I think it was the eventual recipe for writing fantasy.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I love escapism.  In fantasy, as a genre, there’s something exhilarating about being able to take up your sword, slay the dragon, and save the princess (not necessarily in that order).  In classic fantasy, which is what I grew up on, good triumphs over evil.  That doesn’t always happen in the real world.  It seemed simpler. The real world is more complicated. That is what originally appealed to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like modern fantasy with morally grey, more nuanced characters, but the classic good vs. evil fantasy is what first drew me into its depths.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lone-wolf.jpg
Check out John’s book The Lone Wolf
  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here) 

The only project I have finished is The Lone Wolf.  I had several challenges.  I had never written a book before, and I had no formal creative writing training so my learning curve was steep (I was 80% done with the book and had joined a writer’s group wherein the members began to school me on what a dialogue tags were, what maid and butler meant, etc.).  Also, my editor had a lot of personal issues going on during the edits and it became a bit rushed as we were trying to get it done before SPFBO 6.  And me being new to writing, she had a lot to do in a short time.  I’ve since had to go back and re-edit some stuff. But hopefully I’ve improved, and the next book will be easier for her.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I think I really enjoy quick-witted, funny, rogues who are good with a sword.  I had a friend read my book and she said every time one of my MC, Caladin, spoke she pictured me.  I took D&D characters my friend and I have been playing for 20 years, and I infused a bit of him and I in them as I further developed their personalities for the book, except I flip-flopped them when it came to the banter.  I am more like his character (Caladin) and he is more like mine (Quinn).

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

I’m a wannabe. LOL.  It’s hard to give advice being a babe (not in age…maybe in looks though…call me silver fox – I’m pretty old) when it comes to writing.  One book under my belt, I’m hardly an expert.  I think what I would say is put pen to paper regularly.  Get in a good writer’s group. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there and accept criticism as a learning tool.  Draw from as many things as you can for inspiration. And don’t follow trends in the genre, write what you want to read.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

First off, I don’t create/have deadlines and I, unlike others, can afford to do this writing thing as a hobby; I’m not writing to put food on the table.  And when I did try and give my self deadlines, I really started to dislike writing.  So, I told myself, write when you feel like it, and in doing so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

To keep me on track, I usually write a small outline, maybe a 2-3 pages, just for reference.  I use that more when I get stuck in a plot point to get the creative juices flowing.   Otherwise, I sit and think about what needs to happen next in the story.  I try to make it a logical for the characters and hopefully entertaining for the readers.  As long as it makes sense within the story and my gut tells me it is good, I go with it.

  •  Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Pantser.  I love pulling them down. It is hilarious in public. Not my own, by the way. My friends. Just want to make that clear. It is a laugh riot when you catch them unaware. The look on their face. Okay, on a serious note, I’m definitely more of a pantser. I have a strong idea of where Point A is and what Point Z is going to be, but the path, the scenes, the scenarios, and the dialogue I create on the fly.  I write it and listen to my instincts – Is that what I would want to read (like how I put that in italics like I’m a character in a book who is in thought?).  Then I get feedback from others about what to keep and what to reject.  And I do that until I hit Point Z.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

So many plans.  I had about three chapters done in my trilogy The Six, and pushed that aside on recommendation from my friend to continue to write about my rogues (they have been likened to Hadrian and Royce from Michael J Sullivan’s books by my SPFBO judge Kaitlin; I haven’t read any of Sullivan’s work but I think they are pretty popular).  Best laid schemes and all.  My friend and a few other readers seem to like the rogues and he suggested to stick with them.  I have at least three books in mind for them, the first being The Gentlemen Procurers, and I’ve finished chapter one.  Then I plan on writing two books about my other protagonist from The Lone Wolf, Remence, my young ranger.  Then I will jump back into my trilogy.  I plan on all the books tying in with one other with some level of character cross over. 

No other genres for me. I’m such a slow writer I might never get these fantasy books done! Besides, fantasy is what I love to read, so it is what I want to write.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I really enjoy both. But, like I said above, I grew up on classic fantasy and I really love when good triumphs over evil. I want the hero to win in the end; it’s a big part of why I gravitated toward fantasy to begin with.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Hard NO on the Harry Potter. Not that its bad, I just never got into it, and I tried several times.  Star Wars came out when I was 5 years old and had a tremendous affect on me and my imagination, so I cannot not just brush it off.  I love Star Wars, but I’m really into fantasy so I will have to give it to Lord of the Rings.  Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs oh my!

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