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Q&A with me.

On the 30th October , a bunch of authors will be getting together to host a Facebook event. Called a Murder of Authors, the idea is that each of us will be doing something for their readers and fans to come read.

Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/556908761122642/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

 

On my side, I’ll be doing a Q&A at 7pm UK time (or 2PM EST). Basically I want questions from people about writing, the Hellequin books, future books, other series, or anything else you can think of. I’ll make a video and post the answers on the 30thJoined all 4

Now, I know some of you may not have Facebook, and I don’t want you to feel left out. So I’ll be posting the video done there on this blog a few days later.

 

So, you’ve got until the 25th October to get me as many questions as you can think of. I will answer them be they about writing, comics, movies, or anything else you can think of (so long as they’re not too weird or anything).

And feel free to come over on the day and say hi, I’ll be  giving away a signed copy of one of my books.

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Chat and Win 2

The interview on Bittenbybooks.com is now live and therefor if anyone has any questions about the books or writing, or anything really, feel free to pop on over and ask. You might even win the competition.

 

Click on the cover to go.

 

With Silent Screams small

A Chance to Chat and Win

Today is the day that I have an interview and web chat with Bitten by Books. It starts at Noon Central US time (5pm UK). You can win a copy of Crimes Against Magic and an Amazon gift certificate by coming over.

Here’s the link for the giveaway.

Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions about the books or writing in general, feel free to pop over and ask.

Click the cover for the link to the webchat when it goes live. 

With Silent Screams small

Liz Wilkins Interviews Me

Yep, another day and another guest post. Today I’ve got an interview on Liz Wilkins blog, who recently did a fantastic review for With Silent Screams, where she said;

 

“This is definitely a set of books that has grown in stature since its humble beginnings as Nate and the mythology surrounding him has grown, developed and taken on a life of its own. So, all in all a terrific 3rd book in a series that is now absolutely one of my favourites in the Urban Fantasy stakes alongside Felix Castor and Alex Verus. Possibly not for the faint hearted but if you like your Urban fantasy absolutely Urban and fantastical these will probably bring great satisfaction.”

 

Click the cover to go take a read.

 

With Silent Screams small

A Conversation with Kate Maruyama

I’d like to introduce you all to fellow 47North writer Kate Maruyama, author of the wonderfully creepy Harrowgate.

 kate_maruyama_v2b

SM: So, Kate why don’t you tell everyone about your book?

KM : Michael’s wife Sarah and baby, Tim are dead but still living with him in his apartment in New York. A creepy doula-type woman named Greta has wormed her way into their lives and seems to hold the key to how they can stay together, what the rules are to this new existence is, etc… But over the course of the book the couple realize she may not have their best interests at heart.

Any time Michael leaves the apartment–even for twenty minutes, weeks, months pass for Sarah and Tim–Tim grows up during this time also. Michael also sees that Sarah is visibly diminishing and getting more and more mentally lost while their boy grows stronger and healthier. A part of Michael knows Sarah and the boy don’t belong here, but he goes along with anything that he thinks will help keep his family with him. Even after he knows Greta is up to no good, he endures her for fear of losing his family. The question here, is how far would you go to keep your family together? How much would you put up with or would you let evil into your life just to spend a little more time with them? Does the sheer fear of losing someone allow you to push all consequences aside?

Does your guy let evil in so that he may have more power?

 

SM: In my first book, Crimes Against Magic, Nate doesn’t really know who he is. He’s sort of enjoying the fact that he’s clearly not human. Sleeping with beautiful women and stealing things for fun. There’s a part in the book where Nate’s previous ability for violence starts coming to the surface, but the thing that freaks him out is that he’s not actually freaked out at all. It’s not really until the people who removed his memories track him down that all hell breaks loose for him and he has to decide whether he’s going to commit to getting his old life back, but at the expense of everything he’s currently worked for.

Throughout the book there’s flashbacks to 15th century France, which links in with the modern day story, showing what Nate used to be and the things he used to do. There’s some mythology there from different places.

Born of Hatred has Nate trying to piece his life back together and getting involved in something that he’s actually afraid of facing. Something he knows he can’t beat but goes through with it anyway. But doing so means he exposes a pretty dark secret to a lot of people, which is going to have some major repercussions later in the series. 

Nate doesn’t really worry about doing bad things, so long as it’s for a good cause. His moral compass is somewhat different to everyone else. He’s okay with killing and hurting those who hurt the people he cares about. Nate’s let evil into himself a lot over the 1600 years he’s been alive. He’s done questionable things or allowed bad things to happen and not stopped it, simply because his old employer Merlin demanded it. Since he left Merlin’s employ in 1890, he’s tried to not stand by and let things happen. It’s going to get him into a lot of trouble.

 

KM: Do you have fun playing around in Nate’s head? Exploring his lack of conscience? Do you ever cringe at what he does but forge forward because you know what suits his character best or is it just a grand romp to step outside yourself on the page?

 

SM: Nate’s pretty easy to get into his head, mostly as he’s lived in mine for so long. There’s a torture scene in book 2, which did make me wince a little, but it fits that it’s the sort of thing he’d do under the circumstances he was in. It’s the same with the villains. I do love writing really evil bad guys, and a few of them have done things I’ve found awful to think about, but then I know where it goes and what’s going to happen so I don’t have to wonder if they’ll get their comeuppance. If I write the good guy with difference in morals, I have t he make the bad guys even worse.

So, do you find it fun to write the evil characters, or do you prefer to write the good guys?

 

KM:  A lot of the bad guy is written through the eyes of the good guy in mine, so they feel entwined. I had as much fun writing Michael’s revulsion for Greta as I had writing Greta herself. The most challenging part of writing Greta was coming up with her motivation, making her more than a two-dimensional menace. She took several drafts to get right, where as my protagonist was really there all along. But once I figured out what made her tick, I could really dig into her scenes and turn them into power struggles of a sort. Once you know everything your bad guy knows, you know their limitations, needs and strategies.

You said, “A few of them {your bad guys} have done things too awful to think about…” There was one scene with Greta came up in a later draft of the book, so when I saw it for the first time in a few years, it startled me–I hadn’t remembered writing it and it took me aback.

Do your bad guys ever surprise you in their actions, or where they go or what they do?

 

SM: In the first book they didn’t. I knew the main villain quite well by the time I got to write it, so I was pretty sure who he was. But in the second book, I had a problem of needing 2 characters to be in a certain place for the finale and for the life of me I couldn’t think of a good reason. And then one of the bad guys did something that I thought was pretty awful, but worked in terms of story. It also took him to a whole new level of evil, so I think people who read it will be even more willing Nate on to dish out some revenge.

I’ve had a few occasions like that, where a character did or said something that I hadn’t thought of before I got to that scene. But then that’s why I don’t tend to plot out everything in great detail.  I know the beginning and end and roughly what happens for each chapter, but not all the details.

Do you plot out in detail or are you a write it and see what happens kind of person? 

harrowback

KM: I’m with you. I kind of have to get in there with my characters and help them feel their way around their situation, see where it leads. I knew the ending of Harrowgate, but that was it, and huge sections of it surprised me. I had a six page portion planned out that turned into thirty and wound up being a climax of sorts–I wouldn’t have found it if I plotted.  Any time I try to push my characters toward a logical step things sort of stop and fall to pieces. So I keep at the draft until I’ve answered all of the questions. Then I concentrate on structure and cut mercilessly. A lot of first draft stuff I write doesn’t really belong in the story–it was more my writing toward something. Once I find the something, the writing toward can be cut away. I feel like I’m a better revisionist than composer. Revision is where the structure comes together and characters become more layered.

Do you do a lot of drafts or do you rewrite over and over as you go along?

 

SM: For my first book I didn’t plot anything and ended up doing about 9 or 10 drafts. It took forever. Book 2 and 3 i decided to plot slightly tighter before I started so I still had room for the story to flow and change as needed, but there was more structure. I only took 3 or 4 drafts with book 2 and I think it was 3 with book 3. I think that’s more down to me being more comfortable with the way in which I plot the book out before starting. 

I do however, change things as I go. I know I shouldn’t, I should wait until I’m done, but it would annoy me if I left it, so I’ll change the story now as needed. Usually only little things, if it’s a massive shift in story, then I’ll probably re-do most of the book. It’s why I make sure to get all my ideas down before I start now. It’s also why I have a dozen notebooks at home and make sure to keep them with me just in case inspiration strikes, or some new shiny needs attention.

How do you cope with that new shiny idea for a story when you’re in the middle of writing your current work? I have to take a break to make all the notes I need to or the idea won’t shut up. 

 

KM: I often work on two things at once. When I was a screenwriter, I’d finish a script, my agent/manager would go out with it, and it would all be over within a week. People passed, the story was dead. The first couple of times this happened it killed me. It would take about a month of recovery before I would start casting around for new ideas. So I started a habit that when I was in revisions for a script I would start up the next one so I’d always have something to work on. So now I know not to let lightning pass. Sometimes it’s just an idea, sometimes the story starts speaking to me in small ways and I pursue it. I often dive into short story when I’m working on a novel and get stuck. It keeps the muscles going while questions solve themselves in the back of my head.

Did you ever write anything that wouldn’t work? That you put down for good?

 

SM: I’ve had ideas that while they were great for a while, ended up falling by the wayside for one reason or another. Either it didn’t gel or I couldn’t get it to make sense. I keep the notes for the idea though, just in case it comes up in another story and will work better. 

Do you have any notion to write in different genres or are you content to stay in horror?

 

KM: I can only write the book that comes to me and the next was a literary family story, who knew? I know I’ll write horror again, it’s such a lovely space to play in, but I have to wait for the right story to come to me.

 

SM: So what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a writer?

 

KM: The finest advice I got from a writer was from my mentor Rob Roberge, who said, ” When a writer is committed and dedicated, the novel(s) sort of presents itself to us if we listen well enough.”
This is so encouraging at the halfway point for me, where it all seems like crap and I’m trying to push the story forward. The pushing makes things shut down. I have this quote on my desktop, which reminds me to sit back more quietly and listen–to trust this careful moving forward and listening part of the project and wait for things to emerge. Which sounds really lovely and easy, but is usually the part where I get crabby, go on a lot of walks, read a lot of pages over, edit a lot and throw out some new scenes from an entirely different part of the story to ask questions. It’s the part I wish I could turn into a movie montage of writing with a pile of pages growing next to me.

But it’s damn fine advice.

Do you have any writer advice that stuck with you?

 

SM: That’s some excellent advice. 

I’ve been trying to think of what advice I’d say and I’ve been told so much over the last few years that it’s hard to say which one I think is the most important. 

So after much deliberation I’m going to go with: 

Enjoy yourself. If you’re not interested in what you’re writing, no one else will be, I assure you. So, write what you enjoy, write what you’d like to read, because if you try to conform to someone else’s idea of what makes a successful book, you’ll just be miserable and constantly put off writing. If you’re not enjoying writing the story, then what’s the point?

 

And that’s it for another post, thanks to the fantastic Kate for taking the time to read through my ramblings to get to the point I was trying to make.

If you want to get a copy of Harrowgate for yourself, click the links below.

 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

And head on over to Annotation Nation to read the thoughts of her and other writers, including yours truly, about the books that have had the most impact on them.

A conversation with Anne Charnock

To end this week, I’ve got something a bit special. Please welcome author Anne Charnock, who also self-published her work, A Calculated Life, and was picked up by 47North.  We had a chat about writing, publishing and who we’d like to see play our lead characters in TV/movies. 

 

Anne: You’re currently working on two books, Steve, and I wondered how you organize your writing schedule – do you flit from one book to the other? And how do you avoid getting confused?

 

Steve: I write one and do the plot stuff for the other. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing so I work on the book’s plot. So, I’m writing my novella and plotting out book 4. When the novella is done, I’ll write book 4 and plot out either book 5 or my new shiny idea.

I used to use a notebook for each book, but I’ve started (as of yesterday) using index cards and a white board, so we’ll see how that goes for making things easier.

So, how do you juggle ideas for new books while writing?

 

Anne: I’m juggling lots of ideas for short stories at the moment. I’m writing two – jumping between them on roughly alternate days. They’re quite short so it’s not really a problem. But one thing I find helpful is to write each story in a different font – it instantly shifts my mindset. Last night, when I was dropping off to sleep, I imagined a conversation that would slot into one my short stories so I typed that up before breakfast today and I’ll try to polish the whole story this evening. A second novel is starting to take shape but I’m not forcing it just yet. I’m hoping the short stories will help to crystallize things. My first novel started out as a short story.

I’ve had to do quite a bit of research for these stories, which I’ve loved doing. How about you? What kind of research do you need for your novels?

 

Steve: A different font? That’s a great idea, I should try that.

I love research, it’s one of the most fun parts of being a writer. I’ve had to research a lot of mythology and monsters/characters that are contained within them. Then there’s weaponry, cars, historical details for cities and countries, clothes and far too many things to remember. I once had to phone the fire department in the UK and ask how to start a fire without making it look like it’s been deliberate. Once I explained to the very nice man that I wasn’t a crazy person, he was quite happy to explain. I did something similar with BMW and how to steal a Z4. Sometimes I think I’m trying to make myself into a master criminal.

So, what’s your favourite piece of research that you’ve done so far? Do you spend a lot of time researching before you get to the book, or do you do it as you go along?

 

Anne: I can’t tell you my best bit of research, which involved a trip to San Diego, because it would act as a spoiler for the novel!

 

Steve: Yeah, don’t spoil anything.

 

Anne: I do love the research element. I launched into writing A Calculated Life on the back of several conversations with neuroscientists. I allowed other research to feed into the story along the way and I’m now an expert (ahem) on stick insects, bee-keeping, growing citrus, even Medieval sculpture. Not as exciting as your research, Steve. But when a bit of research steers my story in a new direction or adds depth, that’s when I jump up and down, alone in my little study.  So sad.

 

Steve: My research wasn’t so much exciting as it was lucky no one decided to send a few coppers round to have a chat.

 

Anne: Well, at least you’d get some writing done in your quiet police cell.

One thing we have in common, Steve, is that we both self-published our work before we signed contracts with 47North. It was an easy decision for me but I wondered if it was more difficult for you. What difference does it make to you now that you have a publisher?

 

Steve: Actually it wasn’t a difficult decision at all. Speaking to the people who worked at 47North and seeing their enthusiasm for my work, sort of decided for me. The fact that they were willing to back my writing and help promote it, allowing me more time to actually write, was a pretty big factor too. That’s the big difference between being an Indie or self-published writer and not – you have that backing of something big behind you. There are people who bat for you, who want you to do well. Now, yes, if you do well, they do well, but their desire to see you succeed is a great thing. That said, I can still self-publish or publish other work with someone else, so not much has changed in that respect.

I currently write Urban Fantasy, but I have plans for a steampunk series and I’d like to do some SF and historical stuff. Do you have any plans to change your genre? Do you have a hankering to sink your teeth into something new and shiny?

 

Anne: Interesting question! How much should I reveal? I’m certainly going to use the short stories to stick my elbows out. My novel is a near-future dystopia set in the corporate world in England. So I’m now playing around with far-future and other-world scenarios. But I’m also looking at how to site historical stories alongside these futurist excursions, and I have a few ideas about that.

In addition… I’m messing about with the form of my stories. Some are very short. I’ve just this morning completed the first draft of a short story that’s written solely as dialogue: a conversation between two sisters walking along a beach. I’m writing several of these ‘conversations’ set in different places, different eras. I like that idea of continuity. In fact, my outline for these short stories is often very simple – a single sentence about the scenario/setting plus a single sentence of dialogue.

Do you have a particular way of bringing an idea into the open, of getting started?

 

Steve: I couldn’t do that with the short stories and conversations, my brain would just force me to keep going.

I don’t really have one set way. What tends to happen is something will come to me and then my brain will be like a dog with a bone. For example, I had an idea last week for a fantasy/SF/steampunk story. The entity of my idea was humanoid-animals. Within a few days I’d fleshed out the world, a few characters and had a rough idea of the beginning of the story. Once I start, I don’t seem to be able to stop until I’ve done something with it. Which is great when I’m working on what I’m meant to be working on, but when that new shiny idea pops up, it can put a spanner in the works as it demands to be thought about.

It’s probably why when I get round to writing the stories, I have a pretty good idea of characters/world and story. I know how it’ll end and will have a good idea of what I want to happen during the book, although it’s not set in stone.

Do you know what happens in your books before you start writing? Or are you a ‘as you go’ kind of writer?

 

Anne: Like you, nothing is set in stone. I’m definitely an ‘as you go’ writer. I knew my main character pretty well before I started my novel and I wrote, for my own background purposes, a description of what was going on in the world. Straight away I had an opening scene, and I set off. That opening scene is no longer at the beginning! I knew fairly early how I wanted to end the story but I didn’t map the book, chapter by chapter. I started another short story today – thought I knew where I was heading, and after two paragraphs I found myself veering off. I reckon each sentence is dictated by the previous one.

On another subject… while I was jogging at the weekend I envisaged a complete opening sequence for a movie, based on my novel. I was so excited I actually ran faster than humanly possible. So, to bring this conversation to a close… have you considered who might play the lead role in the movie of your book? Have you seen a movie and thought “That’s the perfect actor?”

 

Steve: Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever pictured one person as Nate. It changes quite often. Anthony Starr from Banshee is quite Nate-esque, as is Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy. Also, he’s British, which helps. I think both of those men have done excellent fight scenes and are quite capable of acting as a badass, but can also do the witty/more down-to-earth side of Nate too.

Who would you pick for yours then?

 

Anne: I can see it – Starr and Hunnam fighting for the role of Nate!

As for my main character Jayna… Hmm, I know the actor needs to portray Jayna’s slow transition from being ‘unknowing’, almost innocent, to a more animated character, without going totally overboard (so maybe we should chose our directors, too). From past films, I liked Audrey Tautou in Amelie (but she’s French) and the cool look of Uma Thurman in Gattaca. But among today’s rising stars, I think Carey Mulligan, if available, could make a good stab at the role (see An Education). And I’m intrigued by a Canadian actor coming to BBC3 soon – Tatiana Maslany in the SF series Orphan Black (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01ftyjj). She plays multiple roles in each episode so she’d cope with anything.

Well, that’s an upbeat note to end on!

 

 

Anne Charnock’s writing career began in journalism and her articles appeared in The Guardian and New Scientist. Anne reviews fiction for the online magazine Strange Horizons and contributes book recommendations to The Huffington Post. She splits her time between London and Chester and, whenever possible, she and her husband Garry take off in their little campervan (unless one of their two sons has borrowed it), travelling as far as the Anti-Atlas Mountains in southern Morocco.

A Calculated Life http://www.amazon.com/A-Calculated-Life-ebook/dp/B00DWFCA30

Website http://www.annecharnock.com

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/annecharnock

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ACalculatedLife

An Interview With John Jackson Miller

 

Today I’m proud to introduce fellow 47North writer, Star Wars scribe and all-round talented individual, John Jackson Miller.

 

1. So, why don’t you tell us all a bit about yourself?

John Jackson Miller: I’m a writer who’s spent the last couple of decades strip-mining my childhood, so to speak! I worked in the comics industry for many years as a trade magazine editor (and continue my historical research on my Comichron site – http://www.comichron.com). For the last decade I’ve also been writing comics and prose, for franchises from Star Wars and Indiana Jones to Conan and The Simpsons.

Along those lines, I have a few books that are out this summer. The big one is Del Rey’s Star Wars: Kenobi, my first prose hardcover, which follows the early days of Obi-Wan Kenobi during his sojourn on Tatooine. On the comics side, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Omnibus Vol. 1 has just released, which collects the first chunk of the five-year comics series I wrote for Dark Horse Comics.

The other prose book is one of my own: Overdraft – The Orion Offensive, my first creator-owned project, which I did for 47North. I’m really excited about that one.

OverdraftOO200 (3)

 2. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?

John Jackson Miller: The short plug for Overdraft is that it’s aliens and armored mercenaries taking on Wall Street! Really, it’s a fun story that plugs into a number of the themes that I enjoyed writing about in licensed work. It’s set in the 22nd Century, when mankind has reached the stars and entered into galactic commerce; naturally, greed is soon to follow. Overdraft follows what happens when a conniving stock trader accidentally bankrupts his interstellar expedition from his desktop; the mercenaries, deciding they’re not going to go into unemployment, drag him to the frontier to get their money back, one dangerous planet at a time.

It’s space opera with some satirical overtones, partially inspired by the London Whale and some other high-finance disasters; it made for a good springboard to get our fish out of water and into the galactic soup, fighting for his life. It’s also got a fun system of space transport, which is really more akin to the golden age of rail travel.

It took about three months to write, once I got started on it.

 

 3. How did signing with 47North come about?

John Jackson Miller: The acquisitions editor, David Pomerico, had been assistant editor on a short story project I did at Del Rey, Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith. It was being released as a collected print edition in the summer of 2012 when I spoke with David about possibly doing a short story series for 47North. He suggested that I craft it into a Kindle Serial, and that’s what happened — the serial was released every two weeks from April to July 2013. It’s now available in its completed Kindle and physical book form. (http://amzn.to/overdraft1)

 

4. What has been your favourite part of your writing/publishing experience? The scariest?

John Jackson Miller: I’ve written over a million words for comics and prose works over the last decade, but this was a bit of a new experience: unlike my novels like Star Wars: Kenobi, this is set in a sandbox that’s all my own. So I needed to construct rules and a history for my world. It was fun work, but also a bit intimidating as you realize how much there is to think through. Things like what the medical system is like in your future world are things you don’t normally think of when working out a plot, but they tend to become important when you’re writing.

I think the other challenging thing was in writing the story, which was being released serially while I was writing it. I’m pretty fast, but life gets in the way sometimes, or it certainly tries to. You just have to focus and keep writing!

 

5.  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

John Jackson Miller: It’s not regular enough, is the problem! I was moonlighting for my first several years in the business and I continue to look on evenings and weekends as prime writing time, even though I have been writing full time and really should be setting a different schedule. I just seem to find that handling the business part of things tends to slop over from morning into the afternoons a lot, and that it’s really in the evening hours when I don’t have to worry about e-mails coming in from anyone.

I also have started using noise-canceling headphones, which are really helpful when gutting out a long scene. It’s funny – I was trained to work in a noisy newsroom, but really have trouble doing fiction when there’s noise about.

 

6. Do you have a favourite scene from the book?

John Jackson Miller: Overdraft throws the stock trader into all kinds of crazy situations – but one of my favorites is his first encounter with an actual alien. His translation system has assigned this bizarre looking creature the persona and voice of a 1950s stewardess, and he’s struggling to reconcile the voice with the gruesome sight of the alien – all without offending his potential customer. It doesn’t work out very well, to say the least. That becomes a pattern for him!

Readers can get a taste of the world in a prequel short story I wrote – “Human Error” – which has a similar odd predicament: our mercenaries accidentally get shipped the wrong species’ armor and have to cope! (http://amzn.to/overdraft0)

OverdraftHumanError (1)

7.  Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

John Jackson Miller: I have a Star Trek novella, Star Trek: Titan – Absent Enemies releasing from Simon & Schuster in early 2014. It’s my first foray into the Trek universe and it’s a lot of fun, following the adventures of William Riker on his new command.

I also have a Conan story in the November issue of Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword from Dark Horse Comics. It’s my first trip into that world, as well, and it reunites me with Philip Tan, one of my artists from my Iron Man run of comics.

I am working on some more Overdraft-related material, as well as some other projects; I hope to continue with Star Wars as well. Folks can find out about my upcoming work at http://www.farawaypress.com and on Twitter at @jjmfaraway.

 

 8.  Do you have any advice for other writers?

John Jackson Miller: Never stop writing, and always write for publication somewhere, even if it’s just for your own blog. Every word should have a destination, an intended reader. You’re in business to communicate, so make sure there’s someone – anyone – on the receiving end. That’s better practice than “writing for yourself.”

Kenobi_200

And now for a few fun questions.

 

1. What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

John Jackson Miller: Zero, zip, and nada. I did establish that the rakghouls, the zombies from the Knights of the Old Republic series, were the result of Sith magic; my one contribution to zombie lore in the Star Wars universe. But outside of fixing continuity, my skills are lacking!

swomnibuskotor1

2. You can be any comic book superhero – Who would you be?

John Jackson Miller: I was glad to get to write Iron Man for a year as he was really the character I liked the most – he didn’t have to be in shape, he let the suit do the work!

 

3. As you’re a Star Wars writer, I’d regret not asking this. So, are there any Star Wars characters you’ve never written but would like to? And who is the favourite one you’ve written so far?

John Jackson Miller: Ben Kenobi is really the first character from the movies that I’ve gotten to write at length about; obviously, he was a lot of fun. I’ve always thought Lando Calrissian would be fun to write about – he’s a scoundrel with style, you’ve got to love that. Within my own personal pantheon, probably Gryph, the conniving con artist from my Knights of the Old Republic comics, comes closest to having Lando’s cleverness.

 

Thanks to John for taking part.

You can find his blog here.

Twitter here.

And his Author Central page on Amazon here.

 

Interview with Anne Michaud: Girls & Monsters

This week I have the wonderful, and exceptionally talented, Anne Michaud, to answer some questions about writing, her new novella Girls and Monsters and whether or not Firefly should have come back to our TV screens.

So, let the questioning begin.

1. Can you tell us a bit more about your book? Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?

I wrote Girls & Monsters on a four-year time frame, sometimes writing a story between novels or other projects and at other times, I’d write two novellas in a row, to shape the project into completion. Four of the five stories had already been written in shorter forms, but after reading them again, I realized I wanted to expand them. Strong girls kicking monsters butts, that’s my book.

2. Who’s your favourite character in the book?

Dust Bunnies’ Christiane would be my favorite of the bunch of girls in my collection. She started as an homage to Christiane F., the young Berliner who turned to prostitution to get her fixes of heroin in the 70’s. When you look closely at the plot and characters, you can easily spot where the line between reality and fiction blurred. The real Christiane died last year of an overdose, and like many others, her story touched a very dark part of my soul, I had to celebrate her life in my own way.

3. Which character from your book would you most like to meet?

Limnade, the mermaid of the lake. Well, the fact that she eats souls every year doesn’t make me want to meet her, but I’d just like to see her: hair like algae, claws colourless as her scales, mouth scissored with pointy teeth. Quite a sight to behold, even if she did first appear in a dream.

4. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

I have, many times. My trick is to switch project, to always move forward, whether or not it’s my next novel, short story, script – always keep my mind in motion, always finding ways to inspire myself. After I directed my second short film, I could NOT write for the life of me, until I went to check out an abstract art exposition – instant inspiration.

5. Best and worst writing tip you’ve learned?

“Keep writing” and “keep writing”: it’s as good as it’s bad. As a writer, what you must learn to develop (if you don’t own it naturally) is to know when to stop, when to move on, or when to push through. My sense of storytelling came later in my writing life, after years of practising: like a rock in your throat, you feel it when something’s wrong with your story, and you shouldn’t need somebody else to tell you. So “keep writing” until you’re finished or let go of a project that isn’t working right now (which doesn’t mean you can’t go back to it another time).

6. If you could work with any author who would it be?

Someone cool like Neil Gaiman, someone prolific like Carlos Ruiz Zafon, someone dark like Michael Grant, someone as heartbreaking as Meg Rosoff, someone as scary as Sarah Waters, and someone inspiring like Suzanne Collins. Or better yet, have all of them write an anthology, that’s a book I’d read.

7. You can be any comic book superhero – Who would you be?

Travel-girl: go anywhere in space and time.

8. What skills do you possess that would help you survive a zombie apocalypse?

I can roller-skate, so give me a blade and I’ll bring you to safety, Steve.

9. What is your favourite band?

The Cure, for the past 26 years.

10. You can pick one series to return to the TV. Firefly or Angel?

FIREFLY!!!!!! Oh, how I miss it so. I want to LIVE on that ship!

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If you want want to read more about Anne’s work or learn more about her, here’s some info and links.

Anne_Michaud

She who likes dark things never grew up. She never stopped listening to gothic, industrial and alternative bands like when she was fifteen. She always loved to read horror and dystopia and fantasy, where doom and gloom drip from the pages.

She, who was supposed to make films, decided to write short stories, novelettes and novels instead. She, who’s had her films listed on festival programs, has been printed in a dozen anthologies and magazines since.

She who likes dark things prefers night to day, rain to sun, and reading to anything else.

She blogs http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com

She Facebooks: http://www.facebook.com/annecmichaud

She tweets @annecmichaud

Girls & Monsters Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17335353-girls-monsters

Thanks for taking part, Anne. Also, thanks for saying you’d save me on your roller-skates. It’s good to know people are out there who can help me make a very slow getaway if the world is ever under siege from the undead. Also, everyone picks Firefly. Rightly so.

Witch Hunt: Of The Blood.

Today I’m pleased to introduce the fantastic anthology: Witch Hunt: Of The Blood. Before I introduce the very talented writers, here’s a little about the book.

 

Five novellas based on Devin O’Branagan’s bestselling novel, Witch Hunt!

 

You’ve closed the cover on Witch Hunt, but the story isn’t over … yet! Devin O’Branagan has handpicked writers to take up her characters’ stories and explore what happens next.

The anthology begins with O’Branagan’s own novella about Hawthorne matriarch, Vivian. Vivian and her fellow British witches work together to prevent a Nazi invasion during World War II. Then there is Colonial maiden, Bridget, who struggles with the guilt of failing her family in Salem, 1692. Her younger sister, Prissy, mysteriously disappears and finds another magical world. Julia, torn by family loyalties, love, and her spiritual quest, pays a huge price to continue the bloodline. And Miranda uses her powers against the great influenza outbreak of 1918—but finds the ultimate foe is prejudice against her kind.

Discover what was left out of Witch Hunt and revisit your favorite characters with these exciting novellas. The story isn’t done until the battle’s lost and won.

This anthology contains novellas by Devin O’Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh.

All five authors of the anthology are available for discussion at Devin’s writers’ forum. This is the link to chat with them: Chat With The Authors!

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords. (Smashwords provides copies compatible with almost all types of eReaders including Sony, Apple, Kobo, etc.) It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!

Two of the stories in this anthology are bridges to the upcoming sequel, Witch Hunt: Resistance, which will be released in 2013.

The original Witch Hunt is an international bestseller first published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. It has been translated into German and Turkish and is consistently on the bestseller lists. It is the story of 300+ years in the history of a family of witches, from the time of the Salem trials to a modern-day witch hunt. It begs the question: could it happen again?

Witch Hunt is available as both a paperback and an eBook. It is available at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords.

 

But that’s not all. Before they all had to go, I had the opportunity to ask one question.

What have your writing credits been to date, and what are you currently working on?

Suzanne Hayes Campbell:

This is my first published fiction of note. I have placed a few poems, and won some very minor contests, but this is the first fiction of any length to be published. However, my job as a book designer has put my work in the hands of tens of thousands of readers*. My design work— *inserts shameless plug: http://www.suecampbellgraphicdesign.com* unless you count pithy captions and compelling flap copy. (Well I count it, even if nobody else does.) The design of books is not only my job, but my passion. Along with writing. (Though it pays better.)

*unsubstantiated estimate—who knows? It’s probably a lot more.

Krista Walsh:

I have one contribution in the Day of Demons anthology, called “The Serpent’s Kiss”, and another in the Bleeding Ink anthology called “The Night Belongs to Me”, both of which came out in 2012. I’m currently editing a fantasy novel called Evensong, which I hope will see the light of day sometime in 2013!

Keri Lake:

I published my first novel in December 2011, titled Somnium (Halos, #1).  In February, I’ll be releasing the first in a new series, Soul Avenged (Sons of Wrath, #1).  I recently completed the second book of the Sons of Wrath series and will be preparing Requiem (Halos, #2) for publication later this year.

K.L. Schwengel:

This is my fiction writing debut, unless you count poetry. Many moons ago I published a handful of poems in various places. I’ve also written articles on my other passion, stockdog training. Currently I’m working on the second book in my fantasy series, the first of which should be coming out this month.

Devin O’Branagan:

My first two novels were published in 1988 and 1990 by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. They were Spirit Warriors and the original edition of Witch Hunt. Both of those novels were subsequently published by Heyne Verlag in German. I then took a long break from writing and returned in 2008 with Red Hot Property, the first of The Red Hot Novels, a comic-mystery trilogy. Since then I’ve published seven novels in a variety of genres including YA urban fantasy, humor, and paranormal thriller. Most have hit Amazon’s Paid Bestsellers Lists and all are doing well. Turkish publisher Dogan Egmont just published Witch Hunt and is now considering Witch Hunt: Of the Blood. Themes of my novels include near-death experience, life from a dog’s perspective, dystopian survival, and, yes, a modern witch hunt. I also write a humor column for TAILS Magazine. Currently I am working on the sequel to Witch Hunt, a novel titled Witch Hunt: Resistance, and the second novella in my Show Dog Diaries series. Please check out my website to learn more about my books, my humor column, my writers’ forum, and the work I do to support animal rescue: http://www.DevinWrites.com

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I’d like to thank all of the authors for giving up their time to answer my question and I wish them the best of luck with the book. If you want to learn more about each of them, I’ve linked their name to their website. You should go check them out.

That’s it for this week, have a good weekend all.

My Not Quite a Book Tour, Book Tour

Over the last few weeks, and for a few weeks more, I’m going to be visiting plenty of blogs to discuss a variety of things and promote Born of Hatred.

It’s not an exact book tour, because I don’t have a banner for it, or specific dates for everyone, but I figured everyone would be interested in reading a few cool interviews or guest blog pieces by me, so here’s where you can find me from the past few weeks.

First of all, the talented Krista Walsh has an interview with me on her blog.

The equally talented, and occasionally terrifying, Angela Addams also has an interview on her blog.

The wonderful Danielle La Paglia has another interview with me, and there’s a chance to win a copy of my book (the competition runs out today, so hurry up and go there).

My fantastic critique partner, Michelle Muto, has a spotlight for Born of Hatred. My second critique partner, the also fantastic, D.B. Reynolds, has another spotlight on Born of Hatred.

And lastly, because she’s been the most recent, Seleste deLaney has a guest post from me about sex scenes.

 

 

Also, because someone might be interested, Born of Hatred is currently the number 1 hot new Release in both Mythology book and World Literature on Amazon.com. And is number 6 in Hot new Releases for Contemporary Fantasy and 11 in Fantasy Fiction. So thank you to everyone who picked up a copy, and even more thanks if you liked it.