Author Interview – Pete Sutton

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Pete Sutton has a not so secret lair in the wilds of Fishponds, Bristol, UK and dreams up stories, many of which are about magpies. He’s had stuff published, online and in book form, and currently has a pile of words that one day may possibly be a novel. You can find him all over social media or worrying about events he’s organised at the Bristol Festival of Literature.

On Twitter he’s @suttope and his Bristol Book Blog is here: http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/ and his website here http://petewsutton.com/  He’s contributing editor of Far Horizons e-magazine which can be found here: https://farhorizonsmagazine.wordpress.com/

Questions:

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Seven Deadly Swords is the story of a cursed crusader seeking redemption across several lifetimes

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

Several things coalesced into the book – one of the major inspirations was the book “The Crusades through Arab eyes” by Amin Maalouf. That triggered me writing a roleplaying campaign set in the modern day, but with events of the first crusade very much a causative factor.  Later I created a comic with some of the same characters. This eventually became the novel. The resulting story is now incredibly different from either comic or rpg, but the first crusade is still a big part.

Which authors have influenced you?

Every single book I’ve ever read has influenced my writing. How could they not. As for major influences? Although my writing is not at all similar my literary heroes are Jorge Luis Borges, John Fowles, Jeff VanderMeer (Budding writers should check out his Wonderbook) and Douglas Adams (for his ideas more than his prose though I guess)

Which are your favorite literary genres?

Genre is a marketing term. I like good books. I like books of the imagination. I like history, architecture and technology. I like science. I read fiction and non-fiction. I like weird fiction.

What makes a book/story special for you?

It has to spark the imagination and allude to a larger world. A sense of ambiguity and openness is also important. I don’t like neat endings or pat answers, I don’t like things to be overexplained.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?

I live in Bristol, England. It does appear in the book and the book I’m currently writing, Sick City Syndrome, is totally set there. You are the sum of your experiences so it’s hard not to be influenced by the place you live. I think specifically though I probably wouldn’t be a writer if it wasn’t for Bristol Festival of Literature.

How long did it take you to write this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

A little under a year from rough outline to beta reader version. It’s since been heavily revised and is currently out with agents – which may mean further revisions…

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

I’m looking at traditional publishing as it stands. That may change if no-one wants to buy it. It has been submitted to a publisher and several agents – will wait to see what happens there.

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?

Phew, there’s quite a list. Seven Deadly Swords is the first novel I’ve ever attempted so everything about it has been a learning curve. How to develop characters, how to self-edit, how to seek & take critique, how to ditch things that aren’t working but keep things that are. How to create arcs. How to use description to support the plot and characters. Everything about writing a book really. Trying to get it published has taught me a lot about what agents do & how to approach them (I kind of did everything wrong the first set of agents I sent the MS to). I have a qualification in Publishing so I’m pretty up to speed with how that side of things works.

What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

My partner was hugely supportive, the fact she believed in me made a big difference. Friends and family helped too. I also signed up to Clarion West Writeathon and that gave me the impetus to write the last 40,000 words. My writing group – the North Bristol Writers offered encouragement and critique too. Having beta readers say nice things about the book also helped.

What would you do differently on a next project?

On the book I’m currently writing I’ve outlined much less than the first book. I had strict word count targets for scenes and chapters in the first book (which fell by the wayside) and I’m trying to do things in a much closer third person POV with one main character in the second book. There are multiple POVs in Seven Deadly Swords.

Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?

Learn the rules, then, if necessary, break them

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

I can be found all over social media – I tweet as @suttope, my book blog (where I alsointerview fellow writers) is here: http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/ and my website is here: http://petewsutton.com/

What are you planning to write/publish next?

As well as the second novel I have been working on a short story collection which I’m looking for a home for. I may self-publish that one, as finding a publisher for a short story collection is notoriously difficult unless you’re an established author.

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Sins of the Future – Cover Reveal!

Soon to be released, an anthology with my story. 🙂

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Last October we released the anthology Sins of the Past. This year we present Sins of the Future. Set in a time where anything is possible, from self-driving cars to aliens taking over the world. Each story is unique in its own light because each author took their own views and twisted them to become the stories that are featured in this anthology set to release October 31, 2015.

Sins of the Future features:

They by Jackie Pitchford

In the Driving Lane by Misha Burnett

Highly Strung by Stephen Blake

Add Green Sauce by Matt Lovell

The Verge by R.L. Andrew

The Man with Bio degradable Skin by Angela Garratt

The Nyghtmare Machine by Don Miskel

Kitty by Boyd Miles

Mercury’s Kiss by Jen Ponce

Graduation Day by Chasity Nicole

Malfeasance by Kerry E.B. Black

Return to Sigma Seven by C. Lloyd Brill

Doris by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Looking through Different Eyes by…

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Author Interview – Jay Wright II

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Jay Wright II is a 41 year old lover of horror and fantasy.  He loves writing about his home state of Alabama and spends his time between his writing and his family.

Right now he’s working on editing his first formal novel Talon: Jester’s Game.

You can check out the prologue here for free:

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and go to his author’s page(s) which are listed under his contacts to get updates.

Questions:

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

An R-rated Buffy the Vampire Slayer told from a Vampire’s perspective.

What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?

I always loved Vampire movies, novels, etc but I noticed this terrible trend (especially lately).  Vampires have turned into good boyfriend material and lost a lot of their edge.  Either that or they’re terribly broody.  I wanted to present them in a different way.  While yes my Vampire protagonist does have a romance interest and yes he does to through some deep regretting of things he’s done you can’t define him just by that.  He’s very complex.  Sometimes witty and sarcastic, sometimes compassionate, and sometimes he gives in to “old habits” and can be as monstrous as they come.  I wanted my Vampire lead to be three dimensional and a bit unlike other Vampires out there.

Also, I was tired of female mortal leads being such whiny helpless damsels who seemed always on the verge of slitting their wrists.  My female protagonist Sadie is a bit different from the norm.  For one (and I’m not sure on this) she may be the first plus size female protagonist in Vampire literature (she’s 5’2″ and about 140 lbs).  She’s by no means obese but she’s also not this petite skinny delicate thing.  Add on top of that she’s a former preacher’s daughter with a wild side and a sailor’s mouth and I think she’ll stand out against her counterparts in many ways.  She doesn’t just counterbalance Talon as a character she blends with him as well.  She’s not afraid of a fight and she most certainly doesn’t shy away from blood.

Which authors have influenced you?

These aren’t exactly authors but I truly feel like Joss Whedon and his blend of serious topics with a touch of humor can be seen in my work along with Quentin Tarrantino influencing a lot of my conversations and some of the action sequences.  (there’s a heavy criminal element in my first book and I definitely think you can see some Tarrantino in the gangsters I write about)

Which are your favorite literary genres?

definitely horror, fantasy, and a little bit of sci-fi. (my dad worked for NASA, if I didn’t have sci-fi on there the old man would kill me)

What makes a book/story special for you?

the book has to feel real, no matter how crazy things may be or the setting, the characters have to feel like real people and act as such.  if the characters feel like living breathing entities it’s going to be a good read.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influenced your story?

I live near Birmingham, Alabama and absolutely yes!  I think Stephen King said “To write what you know about” and that’s why he always wrote about Maine.  (It’s also why I never plan to visit there, Cujo, Pet Semetaries, Tommyknockers, sounds like a bad place to visit.)  I use lots of local landmarks people from the area are going to recognize.  There’s a lot more to Alabama than people think and I wanted to show off some of the unique features we have to offer in my book.  I touch on racism, the civil rights movement, and even have some good ole fashioned Alabama vs Auburn fan banter because in this state it happens so much if i didn’t use it the book wouldn’t feel real.

How long you needed for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

This process has been going on a while.  It started off (I kid you not) as a very crappy blog entry type thing and slowly evolved into what it is today.  I had to take a break b/c of my vision but thank you cataract surgery and I’m back at it full swing!

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

actually looking for a cover artist as we speak but I’m lucky to have a good friend who’s been head editor at a newspaper for the other jobs.  It’s good to have friends. 🙂

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?

I’ve learned the first rule to writing is keep at it.  Your voice grows the more you write and compared to where I was even a few years ago I’m nowhere near the same writer.

What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

I had an amazing group of friends who read each draft, each alternate version, and kept encouraging me as they saw the writing improve.  Sometimes I kid with them and tell them what horrible liars they were to tell me “Draft 1 was great” when I look at what I currently have written.  But they kept me going and helped me get my voice to a place I truly like.

What would you do differently on a next project?

Well definitely not starting it as a blog that’s for sure.  I think next project I’m just going to jump in write a start to finish and then go back and polish (my first time through I reworked as I went and it took me forever to get a complete novel ready for editing)

Best piece (s) of advice for first time writers?

KEEP WRITING!  Even if you think what you’re putting out is garbage keep going.  Go back later and you may find a gem hidden in that work, a gem that might become a key feature of your book.  First time through write whatever comes to you.  Get the outline of your story first (the skeleton) then as you go back and edit you’ll fill in all the pieces you need to make the work all it needs to be.  It might take a few rewrites but as you get to know the story and the characters the easier it will become.  You should know your characters well enough that someone could go “Your character sees or hears this….. what’s their reaction?” and you should know it.  They should be living breathing creatures living in your mind and you’re just the one letting them out on paper for the rest of the world to see.

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

I have a few:

www.jmw2author.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/jmw2author

twitter: @jmw2author

What are you planning to write/publish next?

I’m starting a series of prequels to my novel which I’m going to shop around as short stories to different publications to get the character and brand name out there.  After that I hope to start my second Talon book (I have three planned in my head

Introducing Sins of the Future

Sins of the Future contains fifteen terrifying futuristic tales written by fifteen brilliant authors. Each tale is different than the next and they all come together beautifully to make up one amazing anthology. The stories vary in the futuristic realm, some happen here on Earth, other’s happen up in outer space. Some stories contain robots, other stories contain animals that walk and talk like we do.

Take a look at the banners created for each story to get an idea of just what our anthology is going to entail. We hope you are left on the edge of your seat in anticipation for our release October 31, 2015.

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Mercury’s Kiss by Jen Ponce

Polidori Corporation, the world’s largest provider of innovative robotics for home and office, is proud to introduce the latest addition to their Personal Assistant Robot family: James. James is the first Passbot to combine home maintenance with security. State-of-the-art A.I. allows James to monitor your family’s day-to-day activities so he can better serve your every need, all the while keeping your family and home safe.
“With the introduction of James to our Passbot line, Polidori Corp really takes the lead in both the personal assistant robotics sector and the home security sector,” said Craig Polidori, CEO of Polidori Corporation. “Our Passbots are powerful, low-maintenance, and perfectly suited for use in a family environment. We have consistently met and exceeded the Robotics Safety Commission’s strict standards of safety and performance.
“We are constantly looking to expand out Passbot line, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill our customer’s needs.”

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Looking Through Different Eyes by Steven Soul

“Edd is willing to do anything to save his planet.”

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…Add Green Sauce by Matt Lovell

“Todd likes green sauce – maybe a bit too much …”

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Kitty by Boyd Miles

‘Science without ethics creates a new underclass. Forced into slums they create a society both dependent upon and victimized by mankind. What makes you an animal, what makes you human?’

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Return to Sigma 7 by C. Lloyd Brill

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Doris by Debbie Manber Kupfer

‘Good help is so hard to find, but today with the Vacuu-Droid 3000 series all your household worries are over – or have they only just begun?’

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The Nyghtmare Machine by Don Miskel

The future ain’t what it used to be and technology can sometimes open the WRONG types of doors. A crime scene cleanup specialist discovers that his worst dreams come true in The Nyghtmare Machine.

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They by Jackie Pitchford

In the near future They arrive and our world is changed forever, this is one persons journey through that change.

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Malfeasance by Kerry E.B. Black

‘In a future age, information is uploaded directly into computing systems within people. This efficient access eliminates the need for books. When Winnie finds a mysterious tome, she’s fascinated. She smuggles it to show her friend, Joan, but Joan recoils. Winnie embraces archaic knowledge and discovers some information is better left unshared.’

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The Day Everything Went Still by Leticia Toraci

‘Helena wakes up in a still world. She seems to have survived fatal drug-resistant pneumonia, even if she was dying the night before. She was then used to the idea of dying in a world taken to chaos by most of its population getting ill with fatal diseases. In this new world she can’t see dead bodies on the street, the supermarkets aren’t pilfered and she can’t see living humans around her house. To which world has she awaken to?’

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In the Driving Lane by Misha Burnett

They said that everything was perfectly safe. They said that nothing could go wrong.

They lied.

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Graduation Day by Chasity Nicole

‘Graduation Day is supposed to be the greatest day of a teenagers life. You graduate high school and embark on a journey to college and into adulthood. But, sometimes what is supposed do happen on Graduation Day doesn’t happen. Sometimes, your life takes a horrible turn and you never know what your future was supposed to behold.’

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Highly Strung by Stephen Blake

‘Are all those who do evil things evil? Or are they having their strings pulled by dark forces? Joe sees the truth of it. Only he wishes he couldn’t.’

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The Man with Bio degradable Skin by Angela Garratt

“No longer do we test on animals in labs.”

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The Verge by R.L. Andrew

‘Sebastian is torn between the only life he’s ever known and freedom. Mission after deadly mission Sebastian struggles against his bonds, gathering strength to fight the ultimate battle; for his soul.’

Author Interview – Lorna George

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Lorna George lives in a crooked little house in Norfolk with her husband, a lot of books, and a fifty year old begonia named Frank. She spends an inordinate amount of time dreaming up magic, dragons, and fearsome ladies, and has decided to try and make some sort of career from it by writing them down. She hopes this will give her a reasonable excuse when caught staring wistfully out of windows when she should be paying attention to the not-so-mystical “Real World”.

Since she has become increasingly vulgar with age, she writes predominately New Adult stories, and despite what a lot of people seem to think, she seriously doubts she will ever grow out of fantasy.

She doesn’t particularly want to.

Questions:

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

The Princess is evil, the virgin sacrifice is actually the knight, who ends up rescuing the dragon, and the dragon thinks he’s the knight, but he isn’t, he’s actually the virgin sacrifice.

Which authors have influenced you?

Every single one of them, in one way or another. I think every time you pick up a book, whether you’re a writer or not, it will leave a mark on you in some small or large way. Even if you hate a book, even if you can’t bring yourself to finish it, you will have learnt something from the experience. Of course it’s far better if you love a book, but I like to think there’s always something to be gained from reading anything.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

I’m a big sucker for romance, to be honest. The trashier the better! I know there can be a lot of snobbery attached to the romance genre, but honestly I can’t help myself. I’ve tried. Friends have tried. My mum cried when she found out; I think she blamed herself. Still, it can’t be helped, and coupled with my deep love of fantasy, also seen as a “low brow” genre, I think I have to just be at peace with my choices.

What makes a book/story special for you?

Good characters always make reading so much better, I think. A book could have the most dull, tropey plot in the world, but if the characters are interesting and unique, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Most stories have been done in a million different variations anyway. It’s the characters that make a story special.

Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influence your story?

I live in Norfolk, England, in a very wonky, narrow house that I’m about seventy-five per cent sure is haunted. I haven’t lived here too long, though. I moved here about six months ago from Dorset, down on the south coast. I think anyone who has ever hiked the Purbecks or visited the New Forest will see where my influence for Ffion came from, but I expect that’s all.

How long did it take you to write this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?

Well, this was my very first full-length novel, so in total it took me about five years. That said, I wasn’t writing solidly over that time as I am now, because along with a first book comes a great deal of confidence wobbling, existential crises, and trying to learn what sort of writer you are.

The first chapter I entered into a competition, mostly because a friend harassed me into it. When I did quite well, I decided to try and finish the story off, and away I went. Originally it was all going to be one book and after writing it that way and throwing it out a countless amount of times, I decided to split it into four. Doing it that way made the story flow much better, and after another six rewrites, here it is!

I’m working on book two at the moment, and have managed to get it down to just over a year so far, so that’s a big improvement!

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

I did! My editor, Juliet Bresler, runs Casa Ceilo and is my hero. Finding a good freelance editor is really quite difficult, not only because there are a great many sharks out in this pool, but also because you need to work well with whoever does this job for you. She’s always very honest in her feedback, but also constructive, and that makes a big difference. I know that if she tells me something doesn’t work, her reasons for saying so are sound. It’s a double blessing too, because this also means that when she says she loves something, I can believe her without question. Having an editor I can trust without question is wonderful, really.

I’ve also been very lucky with my illustrator, too! Juliette Brocal is an animation student, and we actually met as mutual on tumblr some time ago. I had a few problems at first trying to find someone to do my cover art, but then I saw her commissions were open for summer vacation, so I dropped her a message right away. She did it all in a very small time frame, and her enthusiasm for the project has honestly been so wonderful. I know the book cover has been a big success, and she already has ideas for how the series will look as a set, so I’m really excited by that.

What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happened?

It’s so hard. I’m not saying that to be pretentious, but honestly, it’s much, much harder than I’d ever imagined. I remember when I finished up one of the later drafts I invested in “Getting Published” by Harry Bingham as a way of working out what my next move needed to be. It was a depressing read, let me tell you. Helpful, but depressing.

There are so many pitfalls in writing, and it is by nature an incredibly lonely profession, so keeping your morale up is really hard anyway. The sad fact is that in any branch of the arts, there are a lot of people who want to tell you that you can’t do it, or that you shouldn’t, or that there are people much better doing it already. I think to make it through all the discouragement, you have to really want it, you know? You have to light that fire under your butt and keep going, no matter what.

What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?

Routine is your friend, first and foremost, and setting goals, but perseverance is more important than anything else when you want to write for a living, though. If you have enough determination to see things through, you can learn and improve and work your way over any obstacle at all.

Looking back, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?

I would have started sooner. I always wanted to be a writer, but I let other people persuade me that it wasn’t a viable career option and didn’t follow through with it in school. I wasted years trying to learn a “reliable trade” when I should have been writing instead, and I regret that a lot. The worst part was that this so called reliablejob actually only lasted five years before I was made redundant and ended up working in customer service anyway.

I wish I had done what I wanted to do, because I’d have been proving people wrong long before now.

Best pieces of advice for first time writers?

Invest in a decent desk chair. Seriously, back problems from bad posture are the worst, and usually reoccurring once they start.

Stay hydrated! I know most of us love our caffeine, but try and drink some water too. Nothing kills a writing stint quite like a dehydration headache.

Go outside every once in a while. It’s good for you, trust me. Plus listening to strangers talking can go miles to helping write believable dialogue.

Eat and sleep. You only get one body, so make sure you fuel it up! Without the meat-suit, there is no writer, and without the writer, there is no story.

Write. Edit. Rewrite. Rewrite again. Don’t skim the hard stuff just because it’s tedious. It’s part of the process for a reason.

Where can readers contact you in the internet? Do you have a blog/website?

I do have a Website. I also have accounts on FacebookTwitter, and tumblr. I love talking to people, so don’t be shy!

What are you planning to write/publish next?

Book two of The Redwood War series! I’m up to my elbows in rewrites at the moment, but I’m hoping to have this draft finished in time for November so I can use NaNoWriMo for the first draft of book three. I’m hoping to do a release once a year, and at the moment I’m ahead of myself, which is nice. Ideally I’ll have The Royal Sentinel ready for publication next autumn!

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Author Interviews, because we live in a creative comunity

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One of the greatest things of doing anything creative is interacting with other creative people. I’ve experienced that as a painter, even if not in the frequency I wished I had.

Now, as a writer, I’ve come in contact with a lot of others involved in this interesting journey. So I decided to know more about them and their writing process.

This is the main reason I started to make author interviews. Every week I will be posting a new one. I hope you enjoy reading about these new authors as much as I do.