Book Tour: The Glass Thief by John Ryers

We are so excited to share with you John Ryers’ author debut with The Glass Thief, the first book in his Tears of Aeryeth series! Get all the details and order your copy today!

The Glass Thief

A debt is owed.

Del Kanadis–indentured thief to the King of Fires–desires freedom above all else. When given the opportunity to repay his debt with a single job, he begrudgingly accepts, believing it to be a fool’s errand. His task: infiltrate a secluded village rumoured to hold a relic capable of defeating the Fire King’s enemies.

Living amongst the townsfolk and gaining the trust of those in charge, Del quickly discovers they know more than they’re letting on, and that perhaps the relic truly does exist. Upon discovering their ultimate secret, he realizes winning his own life back could come at the cost of everyone else losing theirs.

Excerpts:

CHAPTER 1:

A debt was owed.

Four simple words and a simpler concept still, but it was the repayment of said debt that was particularly difficult for one glass thief, Del Kanadis. If it were just a matter of acquiring enough gold to satisfy the debtor, then Del wouldn’t be freezing his ass off in the middle of a moonlit cornfield right now. But as it was, it wasn’t to be settled by coin alone, but rather favours of a delicate nature. A nature that required weeks of meticulous plotting, planning and preparation. 

CHAPTER XXI:

If you could describe Uri’s home with a few words, it’d be sterile, bare and spartan. Almost militant. It reminded Del of the early days, back when he’d steal glass from the barracks and keeps of human kingdoms before the Glass Wars diminished their numbers and put the faen into power.

Nothing was out of place here. His clothes were organized into two sections: patrol Uri and magistrate Uri. Light armour and leather on the left and garish robes and ceremonial trinkets on the right. No Glass Crown.

A mouse would be hard-pressed to find a crumb of food in the kitchen. The floors were scrubbed, the table clean and polished, and the scent of citrus lingered in the air. No Glass Crown.

Upstairs was, as expected, equally tidy. Saria’s bedroom would seem chaotic compared to the order of Uri’s, and all she had was a bed and a book of poems. The sheets were pressed and fitted tight around a bed that’d hold no more than a single person. If Uri had anything going on with Renny, it sure as hell wasn’t going on here. Perhaps they rolled around on the floured floor of her bakery. An image both amusing and disturbing. No Glass Crown.

Del returned to the kitchen and grabbed a glass along with the bottle of wine beside it. He pulled the cork out with his teeth, spit it onto the floor and filled the glass, putting his feet up on the table. A small consolation for a fruitless search, but a deserved one nonetheless. He had after all saved Uri’s life.

CHAPTER XVII:

“Don’t run,” Arisee whispered.

It was like she could see the list of options scrolling through Del’s mind. Running away being at the top of the list. Screaming or soiling oneself tied for second place and wishing for a pair of loaded glasslocks came in third.

Arisee shifted her feet and crouched into some sort of exotic combat stance suggesting she’d be making a stand, and since Del’s ankle had so conveniently betrayed him on the way here, it seemed he’d be making a stand too. A weaponless, armourless, hopeless stand most likely ending in a gruesome death.

#Book The Glass Thief from emerging author @johnryers. #amreading. #TBR #read #darkfantasy… Click To Tweet

ABOUT JOHN RYERS

John is a graphic designer by day, and graphic designer by night (depending on the client), but most importantly, he’s a writer at heart. His dreams include writing for a living, experiencing virtual reality on a Matrix-esque level, and flying unaided (or possibly via really sweet jetpack).

John writes all genres but prefers Dark Fantasy over most anything else. This is due in part to the fact that he likes it the best, and because it’s awesome.

John prefers blue cheese over cheddar, cats over dogs, and will attempt to answer any question with sarcasm whether appropriate or not.

He completed his first novel The Glass Thief in 2017 and you should buy it. Or don’t. He’s not the boss of you.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

 

ABOUT YOU:

  1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:

My name is John Ryers and I write predominantly dark fantasy. I have written a few short stories in YA and Sci-Fi genres as well. I live in Ontario, Canada with my wife and twin daughters, and work as a graphic designer to pay the bills.

  1. Please provide the link to your social media:

Website: www.johnryers.com

E-mail: john.ryers@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook/com/jryers

Twitter: @johnryers

Instagram: @johnryers

  1. How many books have you written?

The Glass Thief is my first novel.

  1. Has any of your work been published yet?

I have had a couple short stories published in anthologies. You can find links to those stories on my website at: www.johnryers.com

  1. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing?

The Glass Thief will be self-published. I see advantages on both sides of the coin regarding traditional or self-publishing, but opted for self-publishing in order to control my rights, cover art, interior design and marketing strategies. As a self-publisher, I can decide the when and where of how I promote my books and that sense of control is very important to me.

  1. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I wrote my first story at aged six (complete with amazing (not really) crayon illustrations). It was about my hamster and his inevitable death, and so I’m entirely surprised my favourite genre to write is dark fantasy.

  1. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?

I need to tell my stories. I have to get them out of my head and onto a page. There are some I never show to anyone but myself, and some I feel have a message others might gain something from. It’s this creative form of communication that keeps me going and gets me through the days when the words are difficult to get out.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favourite author is John Green. It’s his style of writing that I felt a connection to and his books helped me find my own narrative voice. For a while I was floundering with a lack of style and voice and it was through reading his novel A Fault In Our Stars that everything seemed to click for me, despite him not writing anything remotely close to dark fantasy.

  1. What is your preferred reading method? Why?

I like both equally, but if I had to choose, I’d pick a real book. There’s something about flipping from page to page and feeling the words in your hands that an e-reader just can’t replicate. But at the same time, I can’t keep a thousand books in my house but I can on my Kindle.

  1. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?

I prefer writing short stories in first-person past and longer works in third-person past. I’ve never really felt a connection to writing in present tense, though I’m not opposed to trying if the story would sound better using it. I also prefer writing a very close third and don’t really care to write in third-person omniscient.

  1. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?

I don’t always read, especially when I’m deep into writing, but I can’t go too long without picking up a book (or e-reader) because I find reading other people’s stories help recharge my creativity. I’d definitely run out of writing steam if I stopped reading altogether.

  1. How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?

I can only ever read one book at a time. When I get into a story I like, I give it my full attention, and since my reading time is limited, I’d prefer to focus a single story from start to finish and really absorb what the author is trying to say. I also find switching between stories with different narrative voices to be quite distracting.

I’m also a very slow reader, sometimes only getting a single scene in before I crash for the night. I’d say 6-7 books a year is about average these days.

 

ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK:

  1. What is the title of your current work in progress or the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?

The Glass Thief is my most recent completed manuscript. I came up with the idea in late 2012 and finished final edits in late 2016. There were a lot of lessons learned along the way with this one.

  1. What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?

My genre is Dark Fantasy, and I’ve been told I could classify it under the sub-genre of Heist/Swashbuckling Fantasy. I think my narrative style makes it a little different than the usual dark fantasy tales. It is set in the middle ages but I use anachronistic language that borders on contemporary, and I also implement technology that didn’t exist during that time period such as magical firearms and a steam-powered suit of armour in one particular scene.

  1. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?

I think I pulled the inspiration for The Glass Thief from my own past, in that, I was a very different person a decade ago than I am today. A lesser person so to speak. The Glass Thief is a story about betrayal and redemption, and I wanted to write a story that showed no matter what your past entailed, you always have the power to set things right, if you truly want to.

  1. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?

I’d say my target audience would be adults. There’s some pretty dark moments in The Glass Thief, definitely not suitable for children, but as for how old I’d draw the line? Who knows. There’s so much pain and suffering in the media these days that I don’t think anything in my novel would shock a teen audience.

  1. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?

The Glass Thief is the story of Del Kanadis, a thief who’s made a name for himself stealing elemental glass throughout his realm, but who owes a heavy debt to the King of Fires. The King of Fires is fighting his own war and requires a certain relic to defeat his enemies. He tasks Del to infiltrate the village where they believe the relic hides, and steal it. So the meat of the story is essentially Del gaining the trust of the villages to find the relic, and then royally screw them over by stealing it.

 

ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE: 

  1. How often do you write?

I write every weekday from 7am to 8 am. My writing time is very limited having 4-year-old twins to take care of at home, and so I get to work an hour early every day to get my writing in.

  1. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?

It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I can break 2,000 in that hour. Other times I’m slogging through a paragraph or two before the hour’s up.

  1. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?

I do as much editing on my own as I can before sending it to my beta readers. I want them to have the cleanest version they can, so they can focus on the story instead of the grammatical errors and typos. Once they’ve read it through and I’ve applied all their feedback, I’ll print it out on paper and go over each page one more time. Then my editor gets it and finds the million things I glossed over during my final pass.

  1. What is your method of writing?

I’ll start with a brief sentence or two outlining each scene I plan to write. Once I have this very rough roadmap, I’ll start writing out the scenes for a first draft. I write in order, so I can maintain the pace and flow in my head as I go. After the first draft, I’ll write a revised draft (which is the longest part) and correct all the plot holes, remove redundant or useless scenes and add more scenes where necessary. After that draft, I’ll write a third in which I add in foreshadowing and tie certain later events back to the beginning for a more organic feel. The fourth draft is after my betas get through it and the fifth and final is the polish that goes to my editor.

  1. Do you have a muse? If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?

I don’t think I have a muse, unless life itself is a muse. Life inspires me all the time. Every day I see something that sparks a new story, or an addition to one I’m currently writing.

  1. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?

Too long. [laughs even though you can’t hear it]. The Glass Thief took me 4 years to write from concept to clicking Publish. The second book in the trilogy will go a lot faster because I know my character and their world better now, and I have a valid starting point to jump off from. I predict less than 2 years for book two.

  1. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.

I don’t give myself any time limits. As writers, we struggle enough with self-doubt and motivation that I feel it’s borderline cruel to impose limits like that on ourselves. I suppose a self-imposed deadline does help some, but for me, a missed deadline is something I don’t want to deal with mentally.

  1. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?

I use simple names, despite writing fantasy. Single or double syllables put together for a pleasing rhythm when it rolls off the tongue. I love writing Fantasy but I also want it as accessible as possible to people who shy away from that genre. I’d love for more people to read Fantasy and so I want to make it easy on them if they decide to try it with my book.

  1. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?

Very light. I don’t write a whole lot of notes before diving in. The story is mapped out enough in my head and my 1-sentence scene outlines that it’s enough of a jumping off point for me to get the first draft out.

  1. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write?

I must have silence. I can’t write with music playing or background noises of any sort. I mean, I can, but I’m far more productive in absolute silence.

  1. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?

I’m a graphic designer from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm, so I always arrive at work an hour early to write. I have twin 4-year-olds at home that make writing at night a near impossibility. So once my hour at work is up, that’s usually it for the rest of the day.

  1. Does your real life ever get neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?

My real life really only gets neglected during the final month before a book release. I have an amazing wife who supports me in this and understands that it’s only a month out of many years in which my extra time is consumed. Other than that, I always put family first and writing second.

  1. What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?

I’m a writer, when am I NOT quirky?

Every day I see something that sparks a new #story. @johnryers #book #author #blogtour… Click To Tweet

ABOUT YOUR WORK:

  1. If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?

I have only written one novel to date.

  1. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?

I think I’d like to be Arisee Moonwater, despite her being the opposite sex. She lives in a secluded forest all to herself and gets to hang out with wildlife amongst the trees all day. Sounds relaxing to me.

  1. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?

I’d actually like to see how THEY would cast my characters. I’d be very interested is seeing how my world and the people in it are interpreted through someone else’s eyes. I’d find it fascinating and would leave the casting completely up to them.

  1. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?

Probably how long certain poisons take to end a life. There’s a lot of herbalism in my stories and some of those herbs aren’t very nice to ingest. I wanted a variety of different types of poisonings to add authenticity to that aspect of the story. I’m sure I’m on several watch lists now.

  1. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?

I don’t think I’ve find anything I’ve ever researched to be difficult or hard to swallow. Knowledge is power, and the the more you have the better the writer you’ll be.

Author E.C. Jarvis

The final author in Crimson Edge Press’ Maidens & Magic is no stranger to Our Write Side. She is our own E.C. Jarvis, our authority on steampunk and erotica, monthly columnist, and a vital member of the OWS Ink formatting team. Discover even more about this beloved author.


Emma 1Name:
E.C. Jarvis

Latest Release: The Destiny (Book 4 of the Blood and Destiny series)

Genre: Steampunk

Contact: ejauthor@gmail.com

E.C. Jarvis is a British author working mainly in speculative and fantasy fiction genres.

Since 2015, she has independently published five books spanning two different genres and series. The Machine, The Pirate, and The War in The Blood and Destiny series – a steampunk adventure. Desire and Duty, and Lust and Lies in The Consort’s Chronicles series – an erotic fantasy.

If you like action packed, fast-paced page turners, then try one of her books. There’s never a dull moment in those pages.

She was born in Surrey, England in 1982. She now resides in Hampshire, England with her daughter and husband.

For more information visit www.ecjarvis.com

  1. How long have you been writing?

As a hobby, since I was very young. I have been writing seriously for almost 2 years. It just felt like the right time to do something with these stories in my head that won’t go away unless I write them down.

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write anything really. Flash fiction, short stories, novellas, full length novels, poetry. You name it, I’ve had a try at writing it. I’ve also had moderate success in each discipline. My first published piece was a poem which was included in a collection of poetry. I’ve published six novels, and four short stories (one novella length) have been included in various publications. They usually revolve around a sort of fantasy theme, but I don’t like to limit myself to one genre, and one set agenda. I will give it all a go when the mood takes me!

  1. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

I would really like to have a full length novel (possibly a series) of books signed to a large publisher. I think I have reached the limit of what I can achieve through the self-publishing process. Now I really need the assistance of someone who knows what they are doing, with far broader connections and marketing skills to really push my work to a larger audience. I gotta write something worthy of their consideration first, that’s the tricky part.

  1. What inspires you?

I find inspiration in my down-time. I love a peaceful, silent environment where I can give the voices in my head my full attention. I love the monotonous tone of warm shower water, or the dull sound of the inside of my car driving down the motorway. I’m happiest when I’m alone with my thoughts, and find inspiration through quiet reflection.

  1. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.

… too many to mention. I was (and still am) very much in love with the character of Sicarius from the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. He is a perfect character. Men fantasise to be him, and women fantasise to be with him. He’s strong, handsome, a fighter, zero humour, severely damaged and utterly engaging. I highly recommend anything and everything written by Lindsay.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I don’t watch TV. Most of my writing takes place in my lunch break at work, or in the evening after the kiddo is in bed and my husband has settled down to watch some manly program about fishing or trucking. He’s welcome to the remote. I like to sit on the other end of the couch and float away to fantastical places inside my own head with a cup of tea by my side. That’s all the time I need.

  1. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

I write best when there is little to no plan, so I suppose by intuition. I have some logical elements. I have to write down a character sheet for each character. I rarely ever refer to it, but I find, once I’ve written down that character X is a grumpy old sod, I will remember it and stick to that character trait a lot better than if I hadn’t written it down anywhere. The rest is just a case of finding out the story and where it leads as I go. It’s much easier to write that way. I have tried plotting and had to do so for the last two books in my steampunk series, and it took all the joy out of the process for me.

  1. Who would play you in your life story?

No-one. My life story is dull and the only interesting bits are pretty depressing, so I would not approve of my life story being depicted in any form. Cancel the casting session, this movie does not have a green light.

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

A lot of editing. I’m in a bit of a rut. Not sure if it will pick up, or even if I want it to. Maybe a long break. Things have happened pretty quickly over the last 2 years to get to this point and I think I’m becoming a little disillusioned by it all. I need a step back to ease off the pressure otherwise it’s all work and no fun.

  1. What process did you go through to get your work published?

That’s a very long story. The first book in my steampunk series was originally published through a now non-operational publishing company in 2015. It all went a bit wrong, contracts were cancelled, things turned upside down and I thankfully ended up with the rights to the book and the series back in my hands. So, as us Brits tend to do, I pulled my socks up, and jolly well got on with it. I put the book straight back out into the world with new cover art and then followed up with book 2 and 3 in short order. The fourth and final book in that series was published eight months after the first.

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Keeping it interesting. I get bored very easily as a reader and therefore I’m incredibly picky about the books that I read. It’s rare for a book to hold my interest all the way to the end. I’ve started a good number of books, including a lot of the classics, but I bow out when the deadly dull mid-section hits. Unless I’m emotionally invested in the characters by that point, then I just close the book and move on. It’s a worry, therefore, when I’m writing, that I will be able to maintain my own finicky attention span, let alone that of other readers. I have to be sure when I’m approaching a scene or a chapter that it has a purpose, and that I can present its purpose in a consistent and interesting way, otherwise what’s the point?

  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

I enjoy little injections of humour. They work best when it’s natural. I remember the first time it hit me when I was writing the first book in the Blood and Destiny series. The main character Larissa is trying to shoot at a bad guy on the ground as the airship she’s on is rising into the air. She’s laying on her stomach and firing a pistol (the first time she’s shot a gun – ever) through the balustrades. The bad guy goes down and she thinks she’s hit him. Unbeknownst to her, someone else was stood above her and fired a weapon at the same time. The conversation afterwards goes something like

 

“I shot the guy with the crossbow. I don’t need you,” Larissa said.

“I shot the guy with the crossbow,” Holt said, “you shot the lamppost on the other side of the street.”

 

I remember when that scene and the resulting dialogue popped into my head and I just couldn’t stop smiling. Ok, it’s not fall-off-your-chair laughing, kinda funny, but it’s amusing, and incredibly satisfying as a writer to come up with those little moments. So many stories take themselves too seriously. There’s little to no levity in a lot of books and that makes them very hard to read (at least to me), so you need little comedic interludes, especially if you’re writing anything that attempts to tackle the darker side of certain subjects.

  1. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?

Sherlock Holmes

Do I really need to explain why?

  1. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

I’ve been asked this before, and I really struggle to cast it. I like the idea of Richard Armitage as The Professor, but besides that I really don’t know. No-one matches up to the people inside my head.

  1. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

I’m a gamer. Anything strategic. I like world-building games, like the civilisation series, or anything that involves building a city. They’re not so popular these days so I tend to stick with the older ones. I also like Sims.

  1. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

I’ve done a lot of small scale personal promotions – attending events, both online and in person. I have tried a couple of smaller adverts with varying success. They detract from writing time a lot and so I’m scaling back on them, because often it’s a lot of work/money for little benefit. If there were a winning formula then everyone would do it. Sadly, money is the answer. If I had buckets of cash to throw at advertising efforts then I have no doubt I’d see greater results. Sadly, that is not possible.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

Terry Pratchett, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Golding, JRR Tolkien, and for a modern twist, Lindsay Buroker. These are masters of the craft, people who can make a complete character pop from the page in a few well written sentences and careful choice of dialogue. People who can build worlds, and lore, and back story like no others. They are the level I aspire to.

  1. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

Development of voice is essential. Whether writing in first or third, it is imperative to write in your style, rather than copy someone else’s. That is the starting point for originality.

  1. What are you currently reading? 

I have never read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and so I have brought a copy to read.

  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

It’s a hobby that won’t go away. Even with the advent of such amazing technological advances people still like to sit down and get lost in a made-up world. It is only the limitations of choice that are changing, people have far better access to a far wider range of stories than they ever had before. I think we may see some work given to genre fiction, more splitting of genres, and specific sub-branches growing in number, and to me, that can only be a good thing.

Development of #voice is essential. @ECJarvis #amwriting #writingtips #interview #ourwriteside… Click To Tweet

 

Author Sylvia Kelso

It is with great anticipation that we await the release of Crimson Edge Press’ Maidens & Magic anthology in February. Each author we’ve interviewed for them has been a delectable treat. Today’s author is no exception.

Name: Sylvia Kelso
Latest Release: “Death and the Maiden”
Genre: Fantasy
Email: sylvia.kelso@gmail.com

Sylvia Kelso lives in North Queensland, Australia. She often writes fantasy and SF set in analogue or alternate Australian settings, and likes to tinker with moral swords-and-sorcery and elements of mythology. She has published 8 fantasy novels, including Amberlight and The Moving Water, which were finalists for best fantasy novel in the Australian Aurealis genre fiction awards. Her short stories have appeared in Australia and the US, including anthologies from DAW and 12th Planet Press, and the online e-zines Luna Station Quarterly and Eternal Haunted Summer. Her novella “Spring in Geneva,” a riff on Frankenstein, appeared in October 2013 with Aqueduct Press. Her most recent publications are the related-work essay “Dear James,” in the award-winning Australian anthology Letters to Tiptree, in  August 2015, and another short story, “The Horses of Buhen,” which appeared in the 2016 Summer Solstice Issue of Eternal Haunted Summer.

More links:

http://fablecroft.com.au/publications/cranky-ladies-of-history
https://www.amazon.com/Lightships-Sabers-Various-Authors/dp/1942450257

CONNECT: Website

 

  1. How long have you been writing?

Telling stories is something I’ve done as long as I can remember. Poetry I did start to write down at 8 or 10, and my first “novel” was begun – and thankfully, abandoned – at the end of my second year in high school. I didn’t get to a full novel till after University.  And I didn’t think seriously about trying to get any of my fiction published, which for me is the equally important second component in the term, “writing,” until late in the 1990s.

 

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?


I seldom write poetry now, but when I moved to fiction, I started with historical novels. In 1980, coming back from overseas to an Australia at once familiar and startlingly new, I got the idea for a fantasy novel, set in an analogue Australian setting. Since then I’ve mostly written fantasy, two series and parts of a third published now, varying from high to contemporary: that’s a series called Blackston Gold, about a local goldmining town. I did write a couple of novels in the early 2000s that wd qualify as SF (science fiction) but since about 2011 I’ve gravitated towards shorter fiction. I now have one novella out, in 2013, called “Spring in Geneva” with Aqueduct Press, with a sequel in development.

There are some short stories, in e-zines and in Australian and US anthologies, like “Due Care and Attention,” in the Australian antho Cranky Ladies of History, and “A Moment in Laramidia,” which I think of as my mad time-travel dinosaur story, and one of my favourite pieces, in the US anthology Lightships and Sabers. And of course, there is “Death and the Maiden,” my second novella, in Crimson Edge’s forthcoming Magic and Maidens antho.

I’ve also written critically, including a PhD on Gothic and SF genre fiction, and some things on fantasy writers, including Samuel Delany, Lois McMaster Bujold and Patricia McKillip.

 

  1. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

To keep writing. To have a reasonably sized audience.

 

  1. What inspires you?

I’m one of those falling-seed writers. Anything can trigger a writing piece. Most orthodoxly, a cfs that strikes a bell with the Black Gang, aka my mind’s creative component. I run cfs’s that appeal to my conscious mind past the “guys in the basement,” as Stephen King called them. Sometimes the topic triggers a response. Sometimes not.

Otherwise, most often work will spring from what I call ground-zero reveries. With my contemporary fantasy duo I was standing in the shower – where so many of us must meditate! thinking about the incident where, it turns out, someone actually saw Roman soldiers marching through a cellar somewhere in York. Thoughts drifted to a ghost in a skyscraper – how much of the “ghost” would you see, and where? And suddenly, this figure in diggers’ (gold rush) clothes was climbing invisible steps out of the elevator floor in a local high-rise, and putting a panning dish (for gold) down on the narrator’s head.

 

  1. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.


I always fall in love with my lead characters. But like a good genre romance writer, since I’m boringly straight, the focus of attraction is either a male protagonist or the male lead. With a female of either, it’s a different relationship.

While it lasts, such relationships are like a teenage crush: the character becomes the focus of my mental attention, and takes up a lot of thought-time. But it only lasts for the length of writing the novel, while the character is “alive”. Once the draft’s done, all the characters become like coral – there, but no longer growing.

Unlike the focus of a teenage crush, the character can change during his or her life, and since I don’t work from outlines, as they flesh out such characters can become alarmingly perverse. In my first fantasy novel, I suddenly realised that if left to himself the protagonist would zap himself on the battlefield before we reached Chapter III. Everything after that, the Black Gang still regard as a preventive detour rather than an actual story.

I had a similar shock when I understood that the narrator/protagonist of the second historical novel was going to get herself pregnant at the end of Part I. It wasn’t in my plans, it certainly wasn’t in hers, and this time, there was nothing I could do to stop her. Consequently, quite a lot of that novel was a form of damage control.

 

(Skipped 6.)

 

  1. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?

I’m not sure how either “logic” or “intuition” apply to writing, creatively, at least. I think a more useful binary there might be Fay Weldon’s division of Writer A and Writer B: writer A, she claimed, is the producer, the wild card, the idea-thrower, the one who gets the draft down on paper. Writer B is the editor, who checks the grammar, syntax, alliteration, etc, but also the continuity, feasibility, verisimilitude, etc. Right down to making sure your characters keep the same eye colour. (Not always found in published work.)

Every writer uses both forms in some combination. Some lean on Writer B early in the process, doing outlines and even scheduling scenes. I tend to call such writers organised, whereas writers like myself I term organic. That is, we tend to start off with an idea, a scene, a paragraph or sentence or character, and see where whatever-it-is goes.

In my combination, the two forms alternate. Writer A, however, always leads off: after a cfs or something else snags our attention, there’s an inchoate “hatching” period. Then most often, the Black Gang, aka my Writer A, will toss me an opening sentence or paragraph, often positively Delphic in its crypticness. My sole true steampunk story started with a train pulling out of La Paz in Bolivia, and I didn’t even know if trains went there, or, at that stage, where La Paz actually was.

Hence, very often, after the opening fragment arrives I have to rush off and research for anything up to 18 months to embed the fragments: because without actual data, the Black Gang won’t go any further. This might be called “logical” work, since it’s technically not Weldon’s Writer B, who works on the draft proper. However it is interesting that though the Black Gang will begin without much data, it will then only operate with data. Eg., the current project is stalled until I can recover research about the Amazon in the 19th Century, including ship types and the local Indian lingua franca.

After that, it’s a stop-start process: write until the well comes up empty. Wait for more. Fiddle with what I have already. Ie. at this point the White Gang, aka Writer B, begin to make sporadic appearances.  Meanwhile, the view just ahead is full of “things to put in” but while the ending may be more or less determinate, everything in between is a valley full of fog, where anything can happen. And very often does.

When the draft is technically complete the White Gang may suggest afterthoughts and improvements, but mostly, such work has been done during the Black Gang’s Pause periods. I don’t have a specific revision phase like many writers. For my work, though, both Gangs are necessary. The combination gives slightly more favour to the Black Gang/Writer A, since without them, there wd. be no writing at all.

 

(Skipped 8.)

 

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

Firstly, the re-issue of three novels in my Amberlight series, and the publication of its fourth. That’s mostly publishing work: revising the ms, checking the proofs, working with the editor(s), producing cover blurbs, working with the graphics people on covers.

I also have two novels stuck in revision, and a series I want to get out on ebook. More publishing work, that will include, of course, the after-release part: blog-posting, finding reviewers, spreading the word on social media, arranging contests and giveaways… Creatively, I am in the opening stages of the sequel to the “Spring in Geneva” novella, tentatively titled “The Waters of the Amazon,” and, as above, stuck for want of data. There are a couple of cfs’s I am vaguely interested in, but the Black Gang have so far not deigned to incubate one.

 

  1. What process did you go through to get your work published?

What process do most writers go through? Look for markets, scratch, usually hopelessly, for agents. Send work off. Have it returned. Find another possible market and try again. Work out elevator pitches. Lean heavily on your friends for connections in the publisher/agent/editor business. Send work off. Have it returned. Lather, rinse, repeat. Until one day, if luck is with you, somebody writes back and says, “I’ll take this, thanks.”

Nowadays, of course, there’s the alternate route of the Kindle or other self-pubbing channel, where you write something, whack it up on Kindle, and then do your own promotion. IF you are lucky, it attracts audience enough to create a demand for more. If you’re one in a million, you turn out to be Hugh Woolley and have half the NY Big Five publishers courting you.

 

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Promoting my own work.

 

  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

What I enjoy most about writing and my favourite work (for reading) are two different things. In writing, what I like best, as I think many people do, are those rare moments when you read something back, recent or long previous, and you actually do think, my God, did I write something as good as that?

In reading, my favourite work comes from people like Patricia McKillip, J. R. R. Tolkien, Samuel Delany, and/or Jennifer Crusie. People who can not merely command the English language but make it shoot off fireworks or/ and then delight your soul. And then, people like Crusie,  who can not only write, but do it with wit.

 

  1. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?

How many, and with what resources?

 

  1. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

None. I am “agin” having my work filmed, televised or otherwise taken into the visual. I’m a word-smith. I prefer readers to make their own pictures of what I write.

 

  1. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

Attempting to play the fiddle.

 

 

 

(Skipped 16).

 

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?


As above: J. R. R. Tolkien, Patricia McKillip, Samuel Delany, Jennifer Crusie, etc. And outside my current usual field, Mary Renault, who
could make dialogue mean more, and leave out more sub-text, than almost any other novelist I ever read. Tolkien infected me with a bug for secondary worlds with their own languages as well as geography, Delany showed me the outer limits of both genre writing and language, McKillip and Crusie … Their impact has been largely subterranean, since I can’t do what they do. As an amateur fiddle-player, it’s like going to a concert where Joshua Bell plays a Stradivarius. In subject, technique and ability, you are worlds apart; but the experience is absorbed, and diffuses everything else you do.

 

  1. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

It’s not a secret, but it’s not shareable, either. It’s something you hope happens as you recycle the stories and character options that everyone has been using since before the Epic of Gilgamesh. And what gets termed “original” is just as likely to be decided by your publisher or audience as your yourself.

 

  1. What are you currently reading? 

For fiction, Suzy McKee Charnas, a fairly old YA called The Silver Glove. For facts, H. W. Bates, The Naturalist on the River Amazons. (sic)

Meet Sylvia Kelso, #author. @crimsonedgepub @robertsonwrites #interview @theauthorSAM… Click To Tweet
  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

Eh. Ask me, next time, about the future of humanity? That wd. be more pessimistic, but a lot easier.

Judging by current trends, as I read them, in the First World, reading is tending to specialise and simplify, as audiences lose the background needed for anything but really topical social references. Writing, on the other hand, is burgeoning, as everyone who can access the Net and feels the urge put up fanfic or use Kindle or Smashwords does so. Just check the rising number of “publications” on either outlet. Of course, the quality of that output, to take the traditional view, is both uneven and has a lot longer “tail” than would the output of a traditional press with heavy editorial gatekeeping, etc.

On the other hand, Smashwords and Kindle ensure that numbers of wildly original – as in, wholly different and sometimes brilliant, though not necessarily both at once – and exciting and unusual works are out there, free from the limits and vetoes of traditional publishing. That is, if you could only lay hands on them…

Thank you for the interview, Sylvia. We wish you much success on your publishing journey.

Author G.H. Guldensupp

We are honored to have our affiliation with Crimson Edge Press. Their planned release of Maidens and Magic is due in early 2017. We are focusing our author interviews on the authors whose works were chosen for this anthology. Today’s interview is with emerging author G.H. Guldensapp.

Name:
G. H. Guldensupp
Latest Release: My short story, “It All Began”, in the anthology Maidens and Magic will be my first release.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
guldensupp-picGregory hasn’t spoken of himself in third person in many years, but he’s ready to give it a go, again.  A native Mississippian, Gregory grew up in Ocean Springs, a small town on the Gulf Coast, and spent many weekends, summers, and holidays at Ma’s House, thirty minutes away in Vancleave.  He was an odd one among his cousins, finding his interests in Star Trek, comics, science fiction and fantasy novels, and Dungeons and Dragons, rather than more physical pursuits.  He received a B.S. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi and during his time in college felt his desire to write truly bloom.  Despite a number of faltering starts, Gregory continued on, finishing his first piece of non-Dungeon and Dragons writing in 1999 (He has reams of stuff about Rilmorn, his game world).  In the Beginning is still one of his favorite stories and he is delighted to see it published, seventeen years after it was written.  Gregory is supported, locally, in his literary endeavors by his wife, his two daughters, his two granddaughters, and the Carport Mafia (the cats).  He thanks his parents, sister, in-laws, extended family, and friends for their love and belief in his ability.
1. How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since my undergraduate days in the 1980s.
2. What kind(s) of writing do you do?
I write urban fantasy stories. I am a sometimes poet and I also write tons of background for my D&D games. Oh yeah, I also try to keep a blog up as well. World Engineer
3. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?
My big goal is to someday publish the novel that I am working on. Beyond that, I really want, not so much to be famous, but rather a successful, working author.
4. What inspires you?
Maidens & MagicThis may sound stupid, but running a regular D&D game inspires me. When I run a regularly scheduled game, my creative impulses in other areas are ignited.
5. Have you ever fallen in love with a character?
No. I haven’t.
6. How do you find or make time to write?
Before my laptop died, I wrote on break at work. Now, I “try” to get up early and write before I have to get ready for work.
7. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
My writing process is based on writing individual scenes then putting them in the correct order and adding connecting material. I often have a version of the final scene written in my head before I ever sit down to type.
8. Who would play you in your life story?
Many people say I look like Doc Brown from “Back to the Future,” so I would guess Christopher Lloyd.
9. What projects are you working on at the moment?
My long-term project is my novel, however, I do have a few other short stories that I am working on as well.
10. What process did you go through to get your work published?
When I first finished “It All Began,” I cold submitted it to multiple publications for consideration. Later, I submitted it to every open call for stories that I found. Crimson Edge Press accepted it, at last.
11. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The blank page. The ever-present question of what now, what’s next.
12. What do you enjoy most about writing?
What I enjoy most about writing is the realization of an image in my mind building itself on the page. My dreams gain substance. I guess I have a really mystical process when it comes to writing.
13. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?
g-h-guldensuppThe Doctor! He has a ship that travels in space and time. We can go back and fix this mess.
14. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?
I don’t have any actors, because my characters do not look, nor act, like anyone I know.
15. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?
Working on my D&D game and reading.
16. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? 
I have never really promoted my writing before. This is all a first.
17. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
J. R. R. Tolkien, Andre Norton, Katherine Kurtz, Charles de Lint, Patricia Briggs, and Jim Butcher. I was in 8th grade when I started reading Tolkien, and those books led me to write my first and last two pages of fan fiction. It was the first time I thought about being a writer.
18. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?
I do not know the secret, but I do believe that there are still new stories out there, not just new ways to write them. I can only hope that I am writing some of those stories.
19. What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading The Hawkhurst Saga by my friend Joshua Robertson. Other than that, I am always re-reading gaming books and adventures.
20. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I think it will go on as it has for centuries. Reading stimulates parts of the brain that audio/visual entertainment does not. There will always be a goodly percentage of the population that will read. We, as writers, need to write that which is worth reading.
Thank you for your time and interview, G.H. We wish you much success as you continue to build your author name and network.

Author Karen Bovenmyer

We once again share with you one of the authors contained in Maidens and Magic anthology from Crimson Edge Press. We are pleased to introduce you to Karen Bovenmyer today.

bovenmyer_karen-credit-chris-gannonName: Karen Bovenmyer
Latest Release:  The Beaded Slippers
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Email: karen.bovenmyer@gmail.com

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. She is the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writer’s Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her short stories and poems appear in more than 20 publications and her first novel will be available Spring 2017.

CONNECT: Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

 

  1. How long have you been writing?

I started creating my own books from stapled-together sheets of paper in elementary school, but I had debilitating dyslexia and my sister teased me so mercilessly for the spelling errors and terrible handwriting that I tore them up. My stories then came out through an imaginary friend named Jack who went everywhere with me—I know this sounds weird, but I remember going on such rich and vivid adventures with him—until a family of three boys moved in across the street. We played Star Wars and Transformers and G.I. Joe and He-Man and Dungeons and Dragons and Lazer Tag and built forts and zip lines and mud pits and got into so much trouble Jack disappeared. It was the dense, small-print paragraphs in the Dungeons and Dragons rulebook that pushed me through my dyslexia around age 10 and got me into reading novels on my own (if I could read the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I could read anything!). I jumped from Ramona Quimby to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and The Dragonbone Chair. In high school I gave myself permission to write again. English became my favorite subject, and every time I was allowed to write a story instead of another assignment, I took the chance. I majored in creative writing for both my bachelor and master of art degrees and eventually went back to school for a master of the fine art specializing in speculative fiction. I started selling my stories in 2011.

  1. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I write a novel every year during National Novel Writing Month (this year will be my eleventh) and I write primarily flash fiction and poetry the rest of the year. Most of my stories are dark fantasy or science fiction, but I have an LGBT-themed historical pirate novel called Swift for the Sun coming out from Dreamspinner Press next year.

  1. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

I’m in a competition with myself to publish more each year than the year before. I also one day want to be a full member of both the Horror Writer’s Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (I’m an affiliate member in HWA). I have a few sales to qualifying markets but the pieces are flash or poetry and weren’t paid a professional per-word rate, or aren’t long enough to count toward membership requirements. I’d love to see something I’ve written in Asimov’s one day. Those are enough goals for me for now, but I know I will create new ones as I surpass those.

  1. What inspires you?

This may sound odd, but scifi/fantasy movies, even (especially?) the really awful ones. I get excited about one side character or another and right after the movie’s over, I want to go and write a story about someone like them in some way, or rewrite some of the themes the movie was trying to express and failed to pull off. I guess it’s my way of processing the movie or discovering why I didn’t like it and “fixing” what they got “wrong” for me. I’m also deeply inspired by reading stories by amazing writers who thrill and test me—like Kelly Link’s “Catskin” or Helen Marshall’s “The Hanging Tree.” The stories that came to me in a rush of inspiration after reading each of those pieces weren’t the least bit like them, but certainly the frenetic energy and riveting voice of both of those tales pulled the new story out of me whole. Those are the artsy answers. The “how is the sausage made” answer is this: competition, accountability, expectation of others. When I’m at a writing club meeting with my undergrads, at a National Novel Writing Month write-in, or I have a deadline, I’m extremely inspired to produce.

  1. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.

As a kid, it was ET, Spock, Han Solo, Data, Indiana Jones, Narnia’s Reepicheep, Ripley and Newt in Aliens. As an adult, Arya and Tyrion from Game of Thrones, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes, J. R. Ward’s Rhage and Butch from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and who doesn’t love Hermione? I’m probably also in love with half the cast of Lord of the Rings. However, right now, my heart and mind are focused on the two principal characters of my pirate historical coming out next year. My editor and I are in the final go-between with the draft, and my characters keep thinking of funny/endearing things to say that simply MUST go into the book. It’s reached levels of obsession where I’m talking to them while I shower and have animated conversations with myself while walking to work. I think every writer has to be in love with their characters to one extent or another, in order to write them in a compelling way. We all also probably look insane whenever we talk to ourselves in public.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

im-in-a-competition-with-myself-to-publish-more-each-year-than-the-year-beforeI have to schedule it. I usually write in the evenings after a nine-hour work day, or on weekends—I often need to meditate first to transition from my work day into a writing mindset. Even then, sometimes I’m just so tired it’s hard—trust me, I tried the get up at 5am and write thing. It was just not happening. However, as I said, deadlines are very inspiring. When I need to write and nothing good’s coming out, I have a few friends I text to challenge me, then we do a 30 minute write-off and I get over my block. National Novel Writing Month has been very useful for teaching me to just write when I need to write. It’s recreating the atmosphere of a write-in or the pressure of a deadline that’s a challenge. I like to craft, sew, read, catch up on scifi shows and movies, play board games, hang out with friends and family, and I’m still a roleplayer—but I have to set all that aside when I’m on deadline. I had to give up video games, especially MMORPGs, entirely. I also can’t obsessively re-read favorite book series while I’m on deadline, or that’s all I want to do instead of write. I’m a little bit obsessive with an addictive personality—when I can harness that for writing and fall in love with my own characters, then writing is quite literally all I want to do all day every day until their story is told. I have to set timers to eat and sleep. And then not ignore those timers.

  1. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

When I’m very, very lucky, I’ll get inspired and a story will just come to me by intuition and spill out on the page and tell itself without any pre-planning. The rest of the time I’m a discovery writer who has spent the last decade trying to teach herself to outline and never quite fully getting there. Basically, I have to have the germ of an idea, a strong character voice to tell it, write a few paragraphs to develop those a little, and then I stop and do a loose seven-point outline for the kind of story those first few paragraphs are starting to tell. If I don’t like the themes that are being answered or the climax suggested by those first few paragraphs, I modify them until they feel more like they suggest the story I had in mind and then re-do the seven points (see Dan Well’s Story Structure for what these seven points are). However, a seven-point outline is enough–any more than that and I start to feel restricted and the desire to write/anticipation of discovering the story goes away. Novel-length fiction is a little different—I like to do Mike Stackpole’s 21 Days to a Novel exercise for the big stuff, just to make sure I’m feeling out all the corners of my world building and second and tertiary characters before I begin. I do love the thrill of starting blind on day one of NaNoWriMo sometimes—I haven’t decided what I’m going to do for this year’s novel yet, so I might shoot from the hip and see what happens.

  1. Who would play you in your life story?

As a little girl, I looked just like Ivana Baquero in Pan’s Labyrinth—to the extent where watching it was disorienting. As a young woman I was sort of a nerd tomboy raised-by-wolves cross between Jessica Brown Findlay’s Sybil from Downton Abby and Karen Allen’s Marion from Raiders of the Lost Ark, as weird as that sounds. As I am now? I desperately want to grow up to be as cool as Charlize Theron (yes Furiosa, but also Charlize herself) or Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from Aliens. I also would love to be Jennifer Lawrence. However, most convincing probably would be Kathleen Turner reprising her role as writer Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone.

  1. What projects are you working on at the moment?

The final edits to Swift for the Sun which will release first quarter of next year, a couple of short stories and poems I have cooking in the back of my mind for some upcoming open calls, and idea-building for the novel I’ll begin on November 1. I also have a half-written Chinese dragon fantasy noir police procedural novel draft from last year that I am excited to return to.

  1. What process did you go through to get your work published?

Maidens & MagicFor me, the biggest hurdle was getting the guts to think my work was good enough to send out. I had to keep writing and reading until I cultivated an inner confidence that a story I wrote was at least as good as some of the ones I’d read and liked. I think it’s like what Ira Glass has to say about the gap between being a fan and a pro—you’ve got to persist and gain skill until the gap narrows between what you’re producing and what you love. Even as a kid, I was the last one in my Karate class to get brave enough to test for the next belt—I had to be fully confident that I knew all the moves and wouldn’t embarrass myself in front of Sensei. It was the same way with stories—I probably waited far too long before starting to send them out, but now when I go back and read my early stuff, I can’t stand the idea of it representing me out there on the market. Even if the stories are sturdy, they aren’t who I am anymore and don’t tell stories I’m interested in. Another issue was that I waited until I was invited by editors who knew me to submit my first stories, rather than hunting and gathering open calls like I do now. I’ve published double the stories this year than I did even two years ago, just from following Dark Markets, Horror Tree, the Creative Writers Opportunities List (CRWROPPS), and OPEN CALL: groups on Facebook. The LGBT historical novel I just sold, Swift for the Sun, was completely by accident—it was a six-year-old story I still believed in that I sent to the publisher on the off chance they wanted to publish a 28,000 word novella that was basically gay Han Solo and gay Tarzan falling in love and fighting pirates. The publisher loved the characters and the setting and invited me to expand it into a novel. The advance and percentage looked good to me, so I signed the contract and spent the summer adding the richness and emotional depth a novel requires. It was extremely fun and rewarding and clocks in at about 72,000 words.

  1. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

There are two. The first is getting started, falling in love, cultivating the living dream that will sustain me as I work through a piece. When a character or voice or story is just not working and the film strip breaks and whips around the projector, I get really discouraged. Okay, discouraged might be an inadequate word for the despondent lay-about I become when I’m stuck. I get more and more depressed as time passes and I’m not creating something. Frustration, anxiety, and stress build until one day I’m reading something amazing, or I just saw a movie, or a friend makes me go to a write-in, and BAM—wildfire and I’m off and writing and a story pours out like magic. So, I suppose what I’m trying to say here is that the hardest part of this for me is to recognize that there are some aspects of creativity that are cyclical. Sometimes I need to gather close the stories of others and experience them and recharge and I need to be kind to myself and not frustrated about it as I gather speed toward my next project. It’s hard though. I have a lot of high performance demands on myself. The second is editing a novel without editorial direction. When I’ve written the novel to the best, most complete form I’m currently capable of, I have problems seeing what else the novel needs to make changes myself, and I get overwhelmed. I love working to editorial direction though—I love the challenge of responding to the issues an editor has found, even if I don’t agree with the solution. I usually find something that answers the problem they found, and raises the work up to a higher level at the same time—that tastes like victory.

  1. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.

Like probably every other writer, my favorite is when the story is rolling out automatically, telling itself, and I only have to keep my fingers moving fast enough to jot down all the crazy stuff my characters are doing or saying. It’s against my Midwestern upbringing to say this, but I know I’m having a good night when I’m laughing out loud at some joke one character said, or worse yet, the joke the non-point of view character thought of at my main character’s expense and isn’t even in the book and is only conveyed through a raised eyebrow or a shared glance with another character that my readers probably wouldn’t even notice. Here’s the part that’s really anti-Iowan, when I’m done laughing, I run through the house giving myself the best pep talk you’ve ever heard about how awesome I am. God, it feels so sinful just to write that “out loud” here, but I so do it. I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I also have a number of getting-ready-to-write-songs that I sing while I’m showering and dressing on a writing day to pump myself up. “You’re gonna get in there and write, you’re gonna make words happen and its’ gonna be awesome.” My favorite thing about writing is when I’m deep, deep in the story of a long project and stopping feels like swimming up from the bottom of the ocean.

  1. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?

Honestly, as a kid from the 80s, MacGyver is my instinctual choice. But hey, Superman would be extremely helpful—flight, super speed, laser vision—but we would have to work on that boy scout complex (not to mention the fact that he’d be epically depressed he hadn’t managed to stop the apocalypse from happening). Sarah Connor, Ripley, and Furiosa also so we have some hard core keep the parameter safe. Deanna Troi to keep everyone working together and Data to get us off this rock and back to the Federation. Hmmm, what a novel that would make…

  1. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

When I wrote “The Beaded Slippers,” I imagined Robin Wright’s Buttercup from the Princess Bride as Sasha, my main character. Anthony Hopkins would do an excellent job playing the wizard Zygenmede for so many reasons. Jim Sturgess’s performances stirred my soul in Cloud Atlas, and he would do a great job as Ichabod, Sasha’s would-be rescuer. The pipe-smoking riverboat captain Miranda Goshawk was admittedly partly inspired by Cloris Leachman’s French revolutionary in Mel Brook’s History of the World Part I. The cast of Downton Abby would do a great job populating Sister Mary’s Home for the Wicked, the poor souls. My setting is very Dickensian, so all the other extras could be from any given production of “A Christmas Carol.”

  1. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

Experiencing story—reading something totally captivating, or watching a scifi/fantasy movie that transports me entirely to another place. I also enjoy the trance-like state that I fall into when I’m creating an oil painting from a reference, and I’m just concentrating so hard on getting that curve, or this color right, I fall so deeply in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow I cease to think of myself as an individual distinct from that flow. The same thing happens when writing is going really well, but a lot of the time, writing is hard work. Or, I should say, hard work to get it to the point where I’m not self conscious anymore and am experiencing flow.

Experiencing #story that transports me entirely to another place. #escape #reading #read… Click To Tweet
  1. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

I’m terrible at self-promotion—but I’m really good at following suggestions from my publishers and editors. I also love to attend conventions and I’m very extroverted and social. I’ve promoted my writing through interviews like this one, blog posts on friends’ blogs, and speaking on panels at conventions. I’m still very new to promoting my writing. Since I also have a ful-time day job, I do find the business of writing takes away from time I could be spending writing, but it’s a necessary part of sending work out, editing work, looking for places to submit work, tracking how much I’ve made from work, selling reprints, tracking the contract details for reprint work, etc.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

Neil Gaiman, Kij Johnson, Theodora Goss, R A Salvatore, J. R. Ward, C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Robin McKinley to name a few that are close to my heart. I like to think of writing as a conversation with everyone else I’ve read and is out there currently publishing in genre. What can I add to the conversation? What is it that we’re currently talking about? What interests us about each other? I try to put all of this into my work, and also make it unique to who I am, telling stories about characters, themes, and situations I’m interested in.

  1. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

I don’t claim any special kind of knowledge about this topic, but I think that the secret to originality in writing is in the seat of the writer’s soul. Not every character has to be you, or have experienced what you have experienced, but they do have to be someone you’re interested in, experiencing something that interests you. The loneliness and empathy and drive to create new people with which to spend time are necessary—originality comes because each individual has very specific needs that a character, setting, theme, or plot answer. However, at the same time, while seeking originality, you’ve got to be careful about straying too far from human experience—you want someone to be able to pick up your book and make sense of it, how it fits with their own lives and needs. Sometimes a story is just a great adventure, or a reason to feel something for someone else. Other times it satisfies some question the soul is yearning to answer. I advise my students to first and foremost write about stories they are passionately interested in. I’ve mentored for about fifty student novels—and each one is unique.

  1. What are you currently reading?

I’m currently not allowed to consume popular culture until I meet my editing deadline for the novel, but driving to and from work I just finished re-reading the marvelous Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (And Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This morning I started re-listening to The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Once I reach my deadline, I’m going to return to my re-read of J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood—I’m on the eighth book, Lover Mine.

  1. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

Despite dour warnings that children these days don’t read anymore, I see plenty of evidence to the contrary. Also, my classes and the student writing group I advise are packed with 18 to 22 year olds who are just as excited to write as I am. I think reading/writing will continue to flourish, but I don’t know that very many writers will be able to make writing a full time career. We like to consume stories, we need to consume stories, and we need new stories that tell about the new worlds we live in and how we will live in future. If the key to originality is answering questions for yourself, it’s also the key to longevity—each new generation faces their own questions and challenges, and it’s the writer’s job to reflect those as time moves forward.

Thank you for your time and the interview, Karen! We wish you lots of success in your endeavors!

Author Jonathan Shipley

Crimson Edge Press releases its annual anthology within the next few months. In preparation for this release, we’d like to introduce you to the authors of the stories contained within Maidens & Magic. Our first author introduction is Jonathan Shipley.

jonathan_shipleyName: Jonathan Shipley
Latest Release: Shadows in Salem: Wicked Tales from the Witch City
(FunDead Publications)
Genre: dark fantasy, urban fantasy

Jonathan Shipley is a Fort Worth writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Although he self-identifies as a novelist, it is short fiction where he is currently enjoying success.  This calendar year, he has sold nineteen short stories to push his overall total over six dozen.  He was a contributing author to the After Death anthology that
won the 2014 Bram Stoker award, as well as a finalist for the 2014 Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award.  Jonathan maintains a web presence at www. shipleyscifi.com where you can find a full list of his publications.

 

1. How long have you been writing?
I finished my first novel in the 1980’s.  Since that time, I’ve moved heavily to short fiction.

2. What kind(s) of writing do you do?
i write both novels and short fiction in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

3. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?
In writing, I want to complete another dozen novels (I have eight written so far) to flesh out the story arc I envision.  I also would like to reach one hundred short stories published.  My count is currently at 73.

4. What inspires you?
Often it is word play — a clever phrase combination that sparks an idea.  Or it might be a vivid dream with an odd twist.

5. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.
Maidens & MagicIt may not be love exactly, but I have a small cast of characters that I have made immortal so I can use them repeatedly in stories and novels.  There’s the vampire, and the demon-possesed kid, but also the
servants of the Light, the Excellenzi who were legitimately immortalized by a god.

6. How do you find or make time to write?
I need to write in blocks of time, so that ends up being more on weekends than during the week.  Deadlines help enormously.  If I have a basic idea and a deadline, the story usually gets written.

7. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?  Summarize your writing process.
I tend to work from flashes of vision.  I see certain scenes that seed the novel or story, then work outward, stringing the scenes together with a logically developing plot.

8. What projects are you working on at the moment?
There are several themed anthologies that I have ideas for, and there are several groups of stories that seem to be coalescing into novels as I write more episodes about continuing characters.

9. What process did you go through to get your work published?
Getting published has become faster and more convenient with on-line submissions , but the steps are still the same this century as last. You research a market, write or adapt existing writing to the market, then send it off.

10. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding the time and finding the will — probably the universal answer from all writers.

11. What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy discovery.  Within a created universe, there are backstories upon backstories that may or may not come out in the course of a storyline.  When something unexpected does surface during the plot development, I am delighted.

When something unexpected does surface during the #plot development, I am delighted. #amwriting… Click To Tweet
12. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?
Sherlock Homes, Gandalf the Grey, and Thor.  That’s a team that should be equal to any post-apocalyptic challenge.

13. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?
It used to be reading, but now it is more likely writing or music or antiquing.

14. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?
I keep a blog and a webpage about writing, and I post about sales and publications on Facebook.  I also post as an Amazon author.  But I haven’t done any face-to-face promotion — book signings, lectures.

Yes, these activities detract from actual writing time, but I do count them as a professional time and feel I am moving my writing universe forward by pursuing them.

15. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s DARKOVER series had a huge impact on how I perceive and narrate psychic power.  My sense of world-building comes from Frank Herbert’s Dune and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

16. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?
jonathan-shipleyI think that’s there’s joy in writing.  When the writer feels it, it comes though to the reader and energizes the story and characters. That may not be the same thing as originality, but old tropes can feel fresh and vivid when there is joy behind them.

17. What are you currently reading?
I’m not — just writing and editing.  As I write more, reading for pleasure has become less a part of my creative process.  Of course, professional reading and workshopping other writers continues, but those are different animals entirely.

18. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I think reading/writing as we know it now will continue but become less mainstream and more niche as alternative forms of storytelling develop and claim their own audiences.

Thank you for your time, today, Jonathan. We wish you much success in your endeavors. Don’t forget you can read one of Jonathan’s stories in Maidens & Magic, launching soon!

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