Author Interview: N S Ford

an open book atop another open book; text reads 'author interview'

Be sure to check out We Watch You!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Definitely paperbacks, they are cheaper and more lightweight than hardbacks. I don’t listen to audiobooks, I haven’t got the attention span for them.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

I can’t choose one … classics, thrillers, science fiction, memoir! Those are the genres I read the most.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

I remember looking at Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak in the infant school library and being both entranced and frightened! 

4.      When did you first start writing?

I used to make little books by folding and stapling sheets of paper. I’ve been writing stories pretty much since I learned to write!

5.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I wanted to write, partly for myself – enjoying crafting a plot, inventing characters, choosing what words to use – and partly for other people, as it’s a great feeling to have people enjoy what you write! That still holds true for me. 

6.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

My debut novel We Watch You is an achievement I’m very proud of! I worked at it for 3 years, on and off, changing the genre and adding another ending! Then I formatted, published and marketed it myself.

7.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

My usual genre is ‘thriller with a speculative twist’! I like to write a domestic or psychological thriller but with something unexpected and unusual to the genre. Science fiction and psychological horror are also a trademark with me. 

8.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I do a bit of research as required to make the details plausible. The internet is a great help!

9.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Absolutely have to plan it, I have a synopsis of each chapter to work from. It can change along the way, but I need to know where it’s going.

10.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I self-published my novel on Amazon, as I hadn’t managed to get any literary agents interested in it (very few of them bothered to reply at all) and I wanted to put the book into readers’ hands this year (2021) rather than keep trying to go through the ‘traditional’ route and getting nowhere. I’m really pleased with how it’s worked out. I plan to stick with self-publishing as it’s a great way to get my work out quickly and have control over it.

11.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick?

I’d want to live in the ‘Railhead’ trilogy by Philip Reeve, which is set in the far future where sentient trains travel across the universe. It’s not a perfect future but it’s not a dystopia either and just imagine being able to visit so many planets!

12.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, I’m working on my 2nd novel, which is a mystery thriller with a music theme.

13.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I find that the best kind of writing music doesn’t need much attention paying to it, so I’m not distracted. I can’t recommend a specific song but I would suggest classical music, film soundtracks, chill-out or instrumentals of any kind.

14.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Keep going! Don’t worry about getting it perfect, just get the story down and you can refine it later.

15.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Classic writers I love include Stella Gibbons, H G Wells, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier and Thomas Hardy. More recent writers whose works I love include Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Lucy Worsley and Anthony Horowitz.

16.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

You can find my Twitter, Instagram, Amazon page, Goodreads and blog here.

Reviews & Interviews Roundup

Book Review: Dim Stars (2020)
Book Review: The 13th Zodiac (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Annabelle & Aiden (2016)
Children’s Book Review: Lola: The Bracelet of Courage (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Jack the Unicorn (2021)
Children’s Book Review: The Adventures of Addy: The Tale of the Prince and the Dragon (2021)
Children’s Book Review: How to Hug a Cloud (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Bats at the Library (2008)
Author Interview: Eva Seyler
Author Interview: Amy Campbell
Author Interview: L.A. Wasielewski
Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel
Author Interview: L.L. Stephens
Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie
Author Interview: Amy Maltman
Author Interview: Luther Kross
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson

Author Interview: Eva Seyler

a book on a fabric surface; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out The War in Our Hearts!

Interview:

Paperback, hardback, audiobook?
 
Audiobook! I devour hundreds of hours of audiobooks each year, thank you ADHD brain that cannot focus on reading if my hands aren’t occupied doing something else as I listen. As for physical copies, I prefer paperbacks.


Pick a genre, any genre! 

Honestly my first love is nonfiction, especially about historical figures/events, because much of that information feeds into the historical fiction I write. For fiction, I read a LOT of kids’ books (MG and YA), especially historical, but there are some contemporaries I enjoy as well, and I like a good mystery or romance occasionally as well.


Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only? 

It is safely in a teal green folder for my eyes only. Although I enjoy teasing people with how utterly rubbish it is. (Because it is the ravings of a teenager.)


How many books/collections have you published so far? 

One novella and two novels (the second of which releases in May next year).


What genres do you write in (or hope to)? 

Historical fiction, although I have one WIP that’s a fictionalised memoir. I also have a historical romance coming down the pipeline – think 1930s-40s snappy comedy. Totally out of my wheelhouse, but the characters are SO FUN.


Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head? 

I am OBSESSED with research! And I love doing it, so that works well for historical fiction.


To plan, or not to plan your plot? 

I always start with the characters. Then the characters either don’t shut up or won’t cooperate, never anything in between. The plot is always secondary to character development for me.


What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it? 

I was initially with a small press; now I’m an indie. I’d love to be trad published someday, but I really also do like having full control over my work (and be on my own timetable, heh).


If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? 

Probably Narnia! Puddleglum and I would be besties.


Do you currently have a WIP?

Do I ever NOT have a WIP? Lollll. Yes, I have like 5 in varying stages of completion. The one I’ll be working on in Jan-Feb of 2022 is a former middle grade novel that I’m re-writing as an adult novel, that I plan to release in 2023. It’s about a boy and a girl in small-town Oregon in 1925 who start uncloseting the boy’s family skeletons.


Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart. 

I’m going with Leni for this one (from THIS GREAT WILDERNESS that’s coming out next May). I poured a lot of myself into her AND she’s the reason I discovered I’m autistic.


What do you consider your *current* magnum opus? 

100% THIS GREAT WILDERNESS. I love all my stories, but this is the best so far and, I think, will probably always have a super special place in my heart even if technically/craft-wise something that comes along later outdoes it.


Do you have a favourite romance in your books? 

Hee hee. I love ALL the romances. But again I’m going with Leni and Raymond. For now. Because I’m going to be cagey about a future couple. Leni and Raymond are a couple of grouches clashing in the night, with Raymond’s eight-year-old son Anton as the sunshine character. It’s heckin slow burn, too. And only one bed/floor/wagon.


Do you listen to music as you write? 

Here’s my generic writing playlist. I also like orchestral stuff, such as Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. And here’s another one for #RussianBluesWIP that I also write to a lot.


Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? 

I take my character sketches very literally. I don’t have any on my website for Ripples or This Great Wilderness yet (it’s on my to-do list), but I have a gallery here for The War in Our Hearts.


Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers? 

Bill Bryson, Jon Krakauer, Hilary McKay, Christian Miller, A A Milne, Erik Larson, Dorothy Sayers, Elizabeth Wein, Ellen White, Opal Whiteley.


Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you! 

All my social media links are here. I am most active on Twitter, though.

Author Interview: Amy Campbell

a picture of a cup of coffee, a laptop and a journal/pen; text says 'author interview: indie book spotlight'

Be sure to check out Tales of the Outlaw Mages!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Paperback and audiobook. I “read” faster with audio but for eyeball-reading I love me a good paperback. (I don’t have a lot of time to sit and read so audio is super helpful!)

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy. Always fantasy. Bonus points for horses/equines/dragons/griffins.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

Billy and Blaze (an old school horse book. I’ve been on brand my whole life).

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

My childhood and love for writing? Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. I devoured the whole series. I pretended I was Alec and The Black with my model horses. My first writing effort was a book that very much mirrored The Black Stallion.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I think maybe I was 7?

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I’ve always loved to read, and writing is putting the movie in my head onto a page. I was also the sort of reader who would “interact” with the characters I read about to the point where they nearly leapt off the page and I would pretend to have adventures with them. I still have adventures with my own original characters in my brain now!

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

My first published book, Breaker. It was always a dream of mine to be a published author. And now I am—through all of my own hard work and determination. And even better, other people like the book. Have found meaning and representation in the book! There’s no greater honor than that.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I don’t even know where my first books would be. Many computers ago, lost for sure! I never got beyond first drafts, though, and back then (as now) I always hated on my first drafts.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Two – Breaker and Effigest.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Epic fantasy, but more specifically queer weird western epic fantasy. I know, I know—pick a lane! I can’t.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Both! I got many a book through Interlibrary Loan to figure out some of the things for Breaker, like for the wind pump and some of the recipes.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I tried with Breaker. I really did. But it was a battle the whole time. I tried again with Effigest and learned that I just have to write a dirty first draft and go from there, without an outline in the world!

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Indie. Yes, because I like the control over my product. Everything about it is me. I don’t want to sign away the rights to my characters to someone else.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, just finished the first draft of Dreamer. Hoping it will release late spring/early summer 2022!

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Blaise, definitely Blaise. Though I love all of them. He’s one of my oldest characters – he’s existed in my head for more than 20 years! He was always a mage, always had a slew of problems. But at heart he’s always been a kind soul, wanting to do the right thing. But this time around he got upgraded into a queer asexual magic cowboy riding a pegasus so … I think that makes him extra fun. Along with the boatload of baggage I gave the poor guy. Also, he decided he wanted to be a baker so … that made life interesting.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

I guess it would be Breaker?

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Even though one of my main characters is asexual, I strive to still represent the fact that aces can have deep, loving relationships. Blaise has a boyfriend, and their relationship didn’t begin under the best of circumstances. But it’s bloomed in a way that makes me really love the pair.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Only if my kids are around and/or my husband is gaming in the same room that I’m writing in. I have quite a long playlist for my writing. A favorite that really represents a lot of my characters is ‘Lions Inside’ by Valley of Wolves.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I do! A very talented artist on TikTok drew fan art of my characters, and I loved her work so I had to hire her to do commissions. So far Mary Carman/Sapphic Witchy has completed work for Blaise and Emrys, and Jack and Zepheus. 

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Read a lot. Write a lot. If writing is your dream, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I entered Breaker in the Equus Film & Arts Festival literary division. I won Reserve Champion in the Equine Fiction – Western category! I read Equus magazine all the time growing up, so it’s pretty exciting to be a Reserve Champion in anything with them!

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Samantha Kroese, long time friend and indie author who gave me the confidence to try to publish!

A.R.K. Horton
Patricia Briggs
Kevin Hearne
Robin Hobb

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Website
Facebook
Instagram
TikTok
BookBub
Goodreads

Author Interviews Roundup

artsy design background like a compass; text says 'author interviews'

In case anyone missed any of the recent indie author interviews I’ve done, here is an updated list of all the interviews I’ve posted so far. Be sure to check these great authors out!

Author Interview: L.A. Wasielewski
Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel
Author Interview: L.L. Stephens
Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie
Author Interview: Amy Maltman
Author Interview: Luther Kross
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson

Author Interview: L.A. Wasielewski

a woman reading a book beside text that says, 'author interview: indie book spotlight'

Be sure to check out The Alchemist on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Up until recently, I preferred only paperback.  There’s something so wonderful about holding it in your hands, sniffing that unique paperback smell (especially old ones!).  I couldn’t read on a kindle for a very long time because it hurt my eyes, but with the new one we purchased a couple of years ago, it doesn’t seem to bother me as much anymore.  Now I really like the ease of e-book, but I still will never pass up a paperback!

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy, for sure.  I grew up reading it, and naturally just fell into writing it!  Playing fantasy-based video games like Elder Scrolls and old-school RPG’s also had a lot to do with my love of fantasy as well!

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The Curse of the Blue Figurine by John Bellairs. I checked it out so many times from our elementary school library!

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

I don’t know if it shaped me in any way, but I would spend hours reading my Shel Silverstein poem books.  I just remember them always making me feel safe, calm, and happy.  Very comforting, even though I had read through them all a bazillion times.

5.      When did you first start writing?

Back in the 90’s, in high school.  I was bored in a 7am economics class (Sorry, Ms. B!) and started writing a story about a video game I loved, Phantasy Star IV.  This was before I even knew fanfic was a thing!  It was terrible, but I was proud of it!  (It is socked away in my house and will NEVER see the light of day ever again.) When I got into college and realized there was a whole community that wrote stories like mine, I was hooked and pretty much never stopped writing (except for the years I had a newborn/toddler.  Those years are a blur … lol).

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

In the beginning, with fanfic, it was to tell stories that were either never covered by the games/movies, or give the existing characters new adventures.  When I transitioned into original fiction, it was kind of the same feeling—except now the characters are mine and I’m creating EVERYTHING for them!  And it definitely still holds true, because I love building worlds, creating characters, crafting stories.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I have a book releasing Spring 2022 that’s a backstory novel for a character in my Alchemist Trilogy.  It’s by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first actual book?  Definitely to share with the world.  There are a lot of fanfic ideas that I’ve tinkered with over the years, however, that were only shown to a select few people, or that I just kept for myself.  

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have a completed adult epic dark fantasy trilogy, The Alchemist Trilogy, and another book ready to go for a Spring 2022 release. (It just needs a cover!)

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Right now it’s epic fantasy, but I have a “dink around with” project that I hit on from time-to-time that’s sci-fi.  I think it’ll make a cool series someday, but that’s a long way off.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Since I write fantasy, you’d think I don’t have to research a lot since it’s all fantasy-type stuff and I can just make everything up, but I surprised myself!  I’ve researched everything from poisons to lockpicking to swords/armor to warfare to, ummm, grisly ways to die and torture.  The list goes on and on!

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I MUST have an outline.  I plan chapter-by-chapter, sometimes scene-by-scene.  A lot of the time, dialogue comes to me first, and then I craft a scene/chapter around it.  But that doesn’t mean I’m stuck to the outline.  There are plenty of times where I’ve changed or deviated from what was originally planned, and I always leave room for changes and new ideas.  (The biggest instance like that was a character that was added *during* the writing of the 1st draft for Dark Horizon [after I had a completed outline], who ended up being a fan favorite, filled a plot hole I didn’t realize was there in the beginning, and became integral to the entire storyline.  He’s … the one getting a backstory novel in 2022!)  

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I originally queried my first book out to almost a hundred agents, but soon after I sent the first batch, I realized I wanted to self-publish.  So, the remainder of my query journey was half-hearted and I wasn’t really into it.  I knew that if I self-published, I’d have complete control over everything, and that was very important to me.  That’s not to say self-publishing hasn’t been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (and I had a kid who didn’t sleep through the night until well into his sixth year!), but the reward of knowing that I did this all by myself (and with a trusted group of test readers, my wonderful husband/editor, and a fantastic cover artist), is all I could ever hope for and more.  It has been very empowering knowing that I did this on my terms.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

I’d love to live on Krynn, from the DragonLance novels.  Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman fostered my love of fantasy, and it was their books that ultimately had a hand in inspiring me to write my own fantasy books.  Krynn seems like a cool place, mean-ass dragons notwithstanding. 😉 

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I have a few!  Writing has taken a back seat this school year, as I’m homeschooling our child, but I try to find time when I can.  I have two Alchemist Side Projects in various stages of completion (look for them in 2023), as well as a new fantasy project starring a group of bad-assed ladies in their late-thirties/early-forties.  I’ve written six chapters of that project so far, and I’m LOVING these gals.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Ooof, that’s hard!  I’d have to say my main character in my Alchemist Trilogy, Ryris Bren.  He’s a lot like me in some ways: he suffers from anxiety that can be very detrimental to his life from time-to-time, and I found through writing him, I was also finding ways to deal with my own anxiety.  If Ryris was having a “bad day” on page, I knew I could help him through it because I’ve been there many times, and if I was having a bad anxiety day in real life, sometimes writing Ryris helped me work through my problem by allowing him to have some fun/be relaxed.  He’s grown so much over the course of my series, and he’s my cinnamon roll for sure.

And I’m picking a runner-up because I want to, haha!  Mercer Nox, who appears in Dark Horizon (Book 2), has wormed his way into my heart.  He’s a sassy, snarky, asshole and very much a combination of me and one of my dearest friends.  I pretty much wrote this guy just to entertain us, and it’s been so wonderful hearing how many readers just LOVE him.  

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

Wow, that’s a tough one.  I think I’m actually going to choose the largest fanfic piece I ever wrote.  Weighing in at over 250K, it’s a Final Fantasy VIII story named Phoenix.  It took me almost four years to complete and I’m so very proud of it.  The reviews and praise I received for it still make my heart happy to this day.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Yes, but it’s classified for spoilery reasons.  😉 

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I used to need silence.  But when I was struggling with the third book in my Alchemist Trilogy, my husband suggested a few Pandora channels with moody music and it actually did the trick!  Now I usually write to E.S. Posthumus and other music of that type.  It’s especially good for fantasy battle scenes.  

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I do!  My dear friend Kristin (https://twitter.com/KMKWrites) did some incredible drawings!  She messaged me one day and told me she was inspired to do some fan art and I was BLOWN AWAY. She captured Ryris perfectly.  

Link to image one and description. | Link to image two and description. | Link to image three and description.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

You don’t have to write every day.  Sometimes we all need a break, sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes we really just don’t feel like writing.  Forcing yourself to write every day because you feel you “just have to” isn’t the answer.  I’ve taken days off, weeks, off, HELL, MONTHS off.  I haven’t written anything more than a paragraph or two in months because of family commitments and no time, but I know when I finally do get the time to sit down and really work again, I won’t see any negative effects from not writing every day.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Several years ago I entered a regional fanfiction contest.  The pieces couldn’t be more than 600 words long, which for me was TORTURE because I’m very long-winded. It was an ultimate challenge for me.  I entered two pieces: A Star Trek AOS story, and a Final Fantasy VIII story.  My Star Trek story made the top 20 out of 500 or so entries, so I was very proud of myself! I didn’t get any type of prize for my placement number, but the pride I felt was prize enough.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Trad pub: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  Their fantasy novels/worlds are what drew me into the genre in the first place, and have had me consistently reading their books for 34 years now!

Self/indie pub: Mason Thomas, Dan Fitzgerald, Deck Matthews, Lilith Hope Milam, Kristin Kuffner, Rob Nugent, and Sean R. Frazier.  

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBebedora

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18538281.L_A_Wasielewski

Book Link: http://author.to/LAWasielewski

Author Interviews Roundup

I have had the pleasure of interviewing some truly insightful, lovely and talented authors recently. If you haven’t had a chance to read these interviews, I encourage you to do so and be sure to check out their books! Some hidden gems in here for sure ❤

Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel
Author Interview: L.L. Stephens
Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie
Author Interview: Amy Maltman
Author Interview: Luther Kross
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson

Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel

three trees on a plain background; text says 'author interview: indie book spotlight'

Be sure to check out Ironcraft (Chronicles of Dumah) on Amazon!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Paperback and Ebook. Hopefully, soon it will also be Hardback.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy, hands down. The more epic and “mythical”, the better.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The first book I remember reading out of my own volition was The Illiad.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

Again, it was The Illiad. It was the start of my fascination with mythology, which inspires my fiction books to this day.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I created my first universe at 4 years old or so, but would not give it physical form until much later. Some children have imaginary friends, I had an imaginary universe of my own creation where I would escape whenever I could. Fortunately, a teacher of mine was sensible enough to understand what was going on and told me to put that universe on paper. So, I was writing short stories at 6 years old. I tried writing a full book some times, but only succeeded in finishing a novel at 15 years old.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I want to write the same way I want to eat or breathe. It’s like a part of my DNA. So yes, it still holds true, and it always will.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

Actually, the book I just published (“Ironcraft“) is the one I’m most proud of creating, because it’s the first step towards fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine: to create my own mythology, from Creation to Apocalypse, like Tolkien did with Middle Earth (namely with The Silmarillion). Also, it’s the first book I have written in English, which is not my native language.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first book (the one I finished at 15 years old) won a literary competition, but I did not publish it. This is because I knew my first book would not have the same quality as later books, because of my lack of experience. I took this into consideration when deciding on what book to write first. I chose my least compelling idea, so that it could serve as a kind of “training” for subsequent books, which had more potential.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have written many books already, but published 2 fiction books until now. The last one is the first installment of a series.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fantasy. Only fantasy. Epic fantasy. Legendary fantasy. Maybe even a bit of dark fantasy. But always fantasy.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I love researching as much as I love writing. My book incorporates things I’ve learned from several mythologies and legends. I also love researching for worldbuilding.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I’m a plotter all the way. When I start a book, I already wrote it several times over and over in my head.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-publishing. I’m sticking with it, no matter how hard it may be to promote my books because of this. This project is very close to my heart and I want to enjoy full creative freedom to pursue whatever direction I find best.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Knowing myself, I would rather not live in another universe, for I would surely die very quickly. Haha. But maybe Narnia. Though I prefer to read about Middle Earth, I would prefer to live in Narnia. It would probably be more fun.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, I wish to continue my “Chronicles of Dumah” series and I already have plotted my next installment.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

All characters play their part in the overall plot and are, therefore, very dear to me. I really cannot choose.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

At this moment, my magnum opus is an unpublished book called “Constança”, which is an original retelling of a historical episode of my country’s (Portugal) heritage. It’s unpublished and in Portuguese, so it’s probably going to sit inside my drawer for a while. However, I have no doubt that, when it’s finished, my series “Chronicles of Dumah” is going to be my magnum opus.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Even though “Ironcraft” has a romantic relationship, I really like the dynamic of the friendship between two giants: Skillotz and Kolinzio. One cannot look up to it for an example of a healthy relationship, but their friendship will flesh out many important contrasts in my plot, and therefore, shed light on problems in the real world.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Sometimes. Most of the time, I use music to inspire myself, not to write, though sometimes I do write while listening to music. Instead of recommending a favourite song, I will recommend two favourite song writers: Yuki Kajiura (composer of anime soundtracks) and BrunuhVille (Youtube composer). These two are a treasure trove of musical inspiration.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I have some character art, from an artist with the pen name Devdiaart. Check her portfolio.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Just start writing. Easy as that. Your first drafts and your first works are not going to be very good. Don’t get discouraged. It’s just natural. Push forward and you’ll see how experience will lead you to create increasingly better books. You can always come back to your earlier works later on. Just start and then keep going, never stopping.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I entered a few writer contests when I was younger, and had some good results. I won a literary contest at my school, and got 6th place and the 1st honorary mention in two contests at the national level. I guess I have to restart doing that. Haha.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Shakespeare, Tolkien, Milton, Homer, Chesterton, Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and the anonymous writer(s) of Genesis and of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Link to Amazon.
Link to Goodreads.
Link to the Chronicles of Dumah website.

Author Interview: L.L. Stephens

a book with flowers; a man sleeping on a stack of books; a flipped open book; a man reading a book; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Sordaneon on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I’m a visual person, so prefer reading books to listening to them. I want to see the words, delve into them, follow them and revel in their shapes. I also like to go back to previously read passages to see how they fit with something I just read, so for that reason alone I prefer paper books to digital. I buy more paperbacks because they’re generally less expensive!

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy is my first love!

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. There was the most beautiful horse on the cover. The story was about horses. Just … horses.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley. Am I revealing a theme? Horses. But The Black Stallion had more than that. Adventure. Danger and rescue and heroics. A quest to enter and win a race. Rivalry and bonding between mismatched characters … and a horse. It was a character story all the way.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I wrote original work as early as the third grade, but as far as taking writing seriously and working on a story beyond just telling it … when I became a teen. I’ve written steadily since I was thirteen.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

The pure joy of creation. I loved inventing characters, and a world for them to live in, and giving them interesting or exciting things to do. I did a lot of oral storytelling as a teen (my sister and I shared a bedroom and I would tell her stories at night), and my earliest writing was putting those stories down on the page. I still love writing for the joy of creation — it’s just that I create more elaborate and dangerous and wonderful worlds and characters.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

My current release, Sordaneon. It was a challenging book to write: intense, populated by characters about whom I had already written four other books. Their end stories were told! Going back and writing an origin story demanded my best writing: vivid characters, crisp exposition, and high (HIGH) stakes. It’s a great story!

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first book, written over many years and long ago, is now the third book in the Triempery series, so it hasn’t been published yet. Lots of people have seen it, though! My publisher, to be sure, and beta readers.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I’ve published 10 books. One was a science fiction novel published in my baby writer years, before life became complicated. When I resumed writing for publication, I published several erotic romance novels under a different pen name. Sordaneon is my first novel published under this pen name. I’m not a debut author.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I’ve written science fiction, fantasy, and erotic romance. Fantasy is still my first love, though! Forever.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Well, it all starts in my head. But then I research the hell out of things. I aim for a high level of realism in my writing. Fantastical, but something with teeth.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I know what a book is about when I start it (though it often becomes about something more), but I don’t really plan it. It’s more of a general idea of how things will go. Then I unleash the characters and they start to talk and plan and do things and they’re ever so alive … so off we go. I do sketch out scenes I know will be needed. Some scenes are foundational and needed for the plot.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Sordaneon is indie, published by Forest Path Books. Forest Path will publish the next book in the series, The Kheld King, in November 2022. If the books sell well enough to continue publishing, I will stay with them. My first novel, science fiction, was published traditionally and I am enjoying indie publishing more. I guess I’m an author who thrives on working with people who believe in me and love my work!

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Too many other worlds are fantastical or dangerous (often both) places for which I would be ill-suited. If I had to pick one, it would be Middle Earth, but only if I could live in the Shire. It sounds like my kind of place.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

My WIP is an already written book I am editing and revising. My Triempery series is fully written. As the books are being released, I keep moving on to editing and polishing up the next one. At this point that involves writing some new scenes, so it’s super exciting! (I LOVE EDITING.)

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

This is a tough one. I want to say Dorilian… but I am going to go with Marc Frederick. He is the heart of not just Sordaneon, but the entire Triempery series. He’s the character I feel for most profoundly.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

Well, it would have to be Sordaneon. It’s the only book published so far in what will be the six book Triempery series. When the whole series is published, I will call the Triempery Revelations my magnum opus. (I consider it so already.)

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

My favorite romance comes later in the series, so … for right now, I would say Dorilian and Marc Frederick as the favorite character relationship. Their interactions evolve and clash and create emotion.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I write in silence. I have playlists that run parallel to what I’m writing, or for certain characters. Mood sets. But when I write … I don’t have anything playing. If I would listen to anything, it would be the Final Fantasy 6 soundtrack.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

No. Only the book cover. I would love, love, love fan art and I do intend to commission some character art.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Don’t quit your day job. Some authors eventually manage this, though, so my other advice is to never quit writing. Keep doing it. Keep getting better. Find your readers and continue to write.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’m such a conflict avoider I have never entered a writer contest.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Some of mine are probably more old-school than most: Tanith Lee, Thomas Burnett Swann, C.J. Cherryh, Katherine Kurtz, Jane Smiley, Matthew Ward, Joe Abercrombie. I could name several more, but I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m shy and a bit of a recluse, but I hang out on Twitter: @triempery.

Here is the Amazon link to my book.

Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie

a book, a mug, a camera and a light on a bed; text below says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out After the Party by A. K. Ritchie on Amazon!

Interview:

1.  Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

A little bit of everything, including ebooks! Hardcovers are my favourite to buy, but when reading, it doesn’t matter to me.

2.  Pick a genre, any genre!

Contemporary Romance

3.  What is the first book you remember reading?

The Upside Down Boy, I think that’s what it’s called. I can’t find anything about it online, but it was a book my dad’s parents read to him and then me!

4.  What book shaped your childhood most?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. My friend and I took turns reading it to each other often because we were so attached to it. It’s the book that made me decide that one day I wanted to publish.

5.  When did you first start writing?

In kindergarten, we dictated stories to our teacher, who printed them, and bound them. After that, I knew storytelling was for me. I was barely 5, but I was hooked!

6.  What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I always had stories to share, so many. I always felt like I needed to get them down and I found they helped me make sense of the world. This definitely still holds true. 

7.  What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I just published After the Party. It was the first novel I wrote that I thought was decent enough for others to read. Haha. 

8.  Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I didn’t publish my 1st or my 40th book. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, but only now in my 30s, I finally published!

9.  How many books/collections have you published so far?

Just the one!

10.  What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction for those in their 20s. 

11.  Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

A little of both. Depends on the novel. I mostly research details to make my novels as realistic as possible. 

12.  To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Planning! I get off track easily. A plot outline can keep me from straying too far. 

13.  What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self publishing. The idea of traditional publishing held me back from getting my book out there. It seemed daunting. When I learned about self publishing, I dove right in.

14.  If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Any of the Hallmark Christmas towns. Haha. They’re always so cozy and cute. 

15.  Do you currently have a WIP?

I do! I’m working on a small town romance right now and also a domestic fiction novel about family. 

16.  Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I ended up being super attached to a supporting character of mine. Her name is Kay. She’s motherly, but edgy. She’s supportive, but not overbearing. She’s just so cool!

17.  What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

After the Party is probably it. So much work went into what it is today and I’m proud of that. 

18.  Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Peyton and Chase! Their relationship is healthy and totally goals. 

19.  Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Oh, I do. I make soundtracks for every novel I write. I named After the Party after the song of the same name by The Menzingers. It was on rotation during the entire project. 

20.  Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Nope, but I wish I did!

21.  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Your story might not be written to market, but there will still be people out there who want to read it and who need to read it.

22.  Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I haven’t. I’m hoping 2022 is the year. 

23.  Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

This changes regularly. The ones I’m reading the most are K.A. Tucker, Alice Oseman, Richard Wagamese, Emily Henry, Cherie Dimine, etc

24.  Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

What reviewers are saying:

Amazon (Canada): https://cutt.ly/gEHP52D

Amazon (US): https://cutt.ly/1EHAirP

Barnes and Noble: https://cutt.ly/eEHPFq2

Indigo: https://cutt.ly/YRAgLNS

Goodreads: https://cutt.ly/2EHPbt2