Author Interview – Bard Bloom

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Bard Bloom is a software engineer by day, a parent by night, and a fantasy/sf writer on the train between the two.

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Nine naïve young dragons venture to an unfamiliar high-tech universe for a relaxing decade of figuring out who marries who, but are distracted and devastated by undead gods, giant ray guns, mind-controlling parasites, friendship and conquest of the natives, and their own nature.

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

One fun inspiration was to reverse the fantasy trope of underdogs on the side of good achieving great power and victory against huge odds.  My dragons are extraordinarily powerful and never lose a fight against non-dragons — and they’re not always the good guys.  So I gave them a heaping plate of problems which couldn’t be challenged to a battle, like communicable diseases and civil disobedience.  And the dragons don’t always win.

Which authors have influenced you?

I wish I could write like some combination of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

Fantasy, science fiction, science, math, sociology.

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

I live near New York City.  I definitely enjoyed sending my naïve dragon narrator in disguise into a sophisticated tourist-friendly city, and watching her stumble around with unfamiliar customs.  E.g., trying to hire a personal tour guide and not quite understanding an euphemism like “escort”.

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

Mating Flight took a year or so for first draft, then a couple years of sitting quietly and getting occasional revisions and editing.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

Yes.  I didn’t expect to make much money on the book, but I have a longstanding relationship with the artist Tod Wills, who gave me quick but delightful cover art for a song.  After the first edition got spelling complaints, I hired another friend to copy-edit and proofread it, again at very generous friend rates.  (Spell-checking a book full of exotic names is not easy.)

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

I wrote a complete outline.  Then the undead god Xolgrohim manifested on page 3 and added a couple major plotlines that wrecked the outline.

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

I have very limited bits of time in my day to write — lunchtimes, for Mating Flight, or my half-hour morning train commute for more recent books.  I gave each book a theme song and a playlist, and trained myself to get into the headspace for writing the book when I hear that song or playlist.

What would you do differently on a next project?

Make the names easier to pronounce.

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

Start out by figuring out why you want to write.  If your answer is “To tell these stories”, we can talk more.  If it’s “to sell books”, I’m not going to be any help at all.

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

bard.bloom@gmail.com, or Facebook or Google Plus as Bard Bloom.

I serialize fiction at bardbloom.com/matingflight

What are you planning to write/publish next?

I have a YA-ish book, /Snake-Armed/, which I am quite pleased with. Publishers less so: they complain about not being able to market it as unambiguously either fantasy or science fiction, and the part after the Grand Sacrifice where the narrator has to figure out how to live with the consequences of having made her Grand Sacrifice.   So I’m expecting to collect some more rejections and then self-publish it too.

 

 

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Author Interview – Jen Ponce

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Jen’s love for reading came from her mom, who valued books above all things (except maybe the Dallas Cowboys and Michael Jordan.) She writes for the same reason some people run marathons, climb mountains, sculpt, paint, or put on suits of Mentos and jump into vats of Coke: because there is a fire burning inside her that doesn’t let her NOT do these things. Writing is necessary, like breathing or double chocolate chip cookies and perfectly salted potato chips.

Reading is not a lost pastime and Jen refuses to believe that something so magical could ever go away. Even during the zombie apocalypse, she will be reading. She will just have to learn how to wield an ax in one hand while holding her book in the other.

Jen Ponce lives in the Panhandle of Nebraska, with her boys, her cats, her goldfish Reggie and a large supply of books that help insulate the house in the winter and expand her mind.

She loves connecting on Twitter and Facebook. You can also send her email and she’ll write back. Visitwww.JenniferPonce.com to figure out how to do all of the above.

Jen Ponce. Writer of kick ass women and oogy monsters. One-handed, ax-wielding zombie hunter/reader.

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

The story I’m working on now: A young woman with a troubled past discovers that evil can wear a pretty face.

 
 

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

This story came from a dream that inspired a three-day writing binge that left me with 275 pages of story. I’ve been picking at it for a long time, trying to figure out what the purpose of it is, what the ending is, why it has stuck with me as something that needed written. I’ve finally gotten the handle on what I want to say with this book and I’m about halfway done with it.

 

Which authors have influenced you?

There are a lot of romance authors who inspired me to start writing way back when: Johannah Lindsey, Laura Kinsale, Lisa Gregory, Rebecca Brandewyne. Then I picked up a novel that looked like a romance (with two lovers in passionate embrace) but of course, the male model was Stephen King. That book was Misery and started me on a nom, nom, reading binge of horror.

 

Which are your favorite literary genres?

Fantasy of all kinds, romance, and historical fiction.

 

What makes a book/story special for you?

Books with female characters who have agency and independence. Books that have fast action, gory horror, engaging characters and magic!

 

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

I live in the Panhandle of Nebraska and while I have used Nebraska as the location for several of my novels, it’s more because there aren’t that many novels set in Nebraska rather than my desire to write novels inspired by Nebraska. Does that make sense? I think of books like My Antonia inspired by and grown by the land about which they are written. My books just use Nebraska as a backdrop.

 

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

I can type words very quickly, but getting them into the right order for a novel is a lot harder. (Imagine that! LOL) If I have a firm grasp on the novel and where I want it to end up, I can usually get a first draft written in two or three months. I set the thing aside for a while, then pick it up again to read through it with fresh eyes. I’ll make corrections, revisions, and then get it to someone else to read. When they send back their feedback, I plunk it into a program that will read the text to me so I can hear all the things I missed during a read through. It’s different for each novel, too. If I write the book more slowly, there are less mistakes.

 

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

I’ve been making my own covers and looking back on some of my first covers, I see that I’ve made a lot of progress as a cover maker. I’ve translated that knowledge to my day job and have won a state-wide award related to the skills I’ve been honing through my writing.

 

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

I’ve learned that I am very much capable of planning a project, carrying it out, and seeing success from it. Writing will always be something I do, even if self-publishing goes away, even if no one ever sees anything I write. It was really the publishing and all the things that come with it that made me realize that I can accomplish what I put my mind to. I love that feeling.

 

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

I’ve been doing a lot of drawing lately in preparation for another book I’ll soon be writing. It’s an epic fantasy, a genre I haven’t really written in before (aside from some small stories) and it’s both invigorating and nerve-wracking to contemplate a book the size I think this one will be. The drawing helps me focus my creativity in different ways to enhance the writing I do. At other times, I’ve used writing workbooks or creative writing exercises to overcome hurdles, or I completely scrap all that I’ve done and come at the problem from a different writing angle. That one is painful and hard, but I’ve written pretty good stories from those moments of bravery, so as hard as it is, sometimes throwing away all that you’ve done to start fresh can work wonders.

 

What would you do differently on a next project?

I am a pantser down deep in my soul, but I’ve seen the benefits of pre-planning stories in my own work. I’ve done a lot more structuring of plot and character work for the upcoming writing project than I’ve done for most of my stories, so I’m excited to see if that makes a difference or not.

 

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

Don’t forget to have fun with your writing and don’t show your work too soon. Valid or not, other people’s opinions can totally wreck your mojo. Keep the assholes and cheerleaders out of your creative space for as long as you can stand it.

 

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

You can visit me at www.JenniferPonce.com to see my books, read my blog, and contact me. You can also play with me on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/JenPonceAuthor or on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/JenPonceAuthor.

 

What are you planning to write/publish next?

I’m publishing my next book on June 6, 2016. I’ll be writing Brokeneck Raven (my epic fantasy) next, and then I’ll be writing Fungus Queen (horror novel) with the hopes of having it published in October of this year. I don’t think Brokeneck Raven will be done this year, but miracles do happen! 🙂

 

 

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Author Interview – Misha Burnett

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Misha Burnett has little formal education, but has been writing poetry and fiction for around forty years. During this time he has supported himself and his family with a variety of jobs, including locksmith, cab driver, and building maintenance.

His first four novels, Catskinner’s Book, Cannibal Hearts, The Worms Of Heaven, and Gingerbread Wolves comprise a series, collectively known as The Book Of Lost Doors.

More information can be found on his website: https://mishaburnett.wordpress.com

Questions:

Which authors have influenced you?

Mostly the New Wave Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. William Burroughs, Phillip Dick, Samuel Delany, Tim Powers, Tannith Lee. More recently, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Charles Stross.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

None of the above. I like books that break genre boundaries. Recently people have taken to calling that “slipstream fiction”.

What makes a book/story special for you?

The characters, plain and simple. I don’t care much what the story is about, what grabs me is who the story is about.

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

I live in St. Louis, Missouri, although I have lived all over the country, mostly in the Southwest. My culture is blue collar American—people who work with their hands and keep the machine running that keeps us all fed. It very much influences my stories. My heroes are people who face problems squarely and get things done, regardless of what anyone else is doing.

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

Each of my books took about a year to write, while working a full time day job. I don’t revise or edit or write in drafts. I start at the beginning, work through to the end, and then I’m done. What you see on the page is pretty much exactly as I wrote it the first time.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

Nope. My roommate took the photos and I made the covers. I had beta readers who pointed out typos, which I fixed.

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

In the writing process a lot of unexpected things happened. I had no clear idea of where I was going with the story, and it kind of unfolded as I went. I didn’t even know that I had finished the series until about a month after I published the last book and realized that it was the last book.

Best piece of advice for first time writers?

Nobody cares about your book. That sounds discouraging, but it’s really not. It’s very freeing. I read a lot of posts from new authors asking “Will readers like this? Do publishers like that? Will an agent want the other thing?” The answer is nobody cares. There are seven billion people on this planet and most of them will go to their graves without ever knowing that you exist. Write for yourself, or give it up.

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

https://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/

What are you planning to write/publish next?

I’m not. I’m doing a series of reviews of for a publisher’s website, focusing on what I consider to be forgotten classics of speculative fiction, and I’ve written a few short stories for various collections, but right now I have no plans to write another novel, much less a series.

Author Interview – Shannon L. Perrine

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SL PERRINE is a wife to a mechanic and mother of four crazy teenagers (3 are boys) who eat her out of house and home. While raising her kids she has obtained three degrees, and now works to feed this bunch as a Registered Medical Assistant in a private physician’s office in the city she currently resides.
She is a native of Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, New York, having spent equal time growing up in both cities.

Writing has always been a passion of hers since she was young. She finally sat down and finished her first book in 2012 and self-published.

She has several projects in the works.

“If I never make a dime off my books I don’t care, I just love the fact that my work is out there for others to read.”
~SL PERRINE~

Questions:

How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Immortal Slumber is a story about an adopted girl who, on her 18th birthday discovers she’s a witch and all her friends knew about it.

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

I watched a few different movies with my husband and kept saying, “that story would be so much better if it went like this…” Finally my husband got tired of hearing me say that and told me to just start a new series.

Which authors have influenced you?

Originally, Nora Roberts. I had spent ten years getting borrowed books from my step-mom. Eventually I started going to the library, and I was never really sure what I was getting. I kept getting what I knew I liked until the library didn’t have anymore. So I picked up a couple YA Fantasy books and fell in love.

Which are your favorite literary genres?

Fantasy and Romance.

What makes a book/story special for you?

Originality… Nothing beats the feeling of not wanting to put a book down because your so interested in what’s coming next.

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

I divided my time between parents, so I grew up in both city and country settings in Central New York. I love the country setting, but find I choose more of a urban setting for my books. That’s just how they worked out.

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

I think this book took me close to 3 months. About 1.5 to write and then I procrastinated on the editing. I was waiting for a specific publisher to open for submissions. We haven’t gotten to the revision/editing yet.

Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?

Fortunately I have been given a contract to publish and my publisher will be handing it off to those she has on staff

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

I learned that really anyone can write a book if they want to. You have to be dedicated to complete a trilogy/series if you start one. Which will keep you going if you have it in you to do it. Then just start another one. Keep the momentum.

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

There were so many days that I didn’t want to write, and so many I couldn’t. But eventually I had to allow myself those days to not write, so that way when I sat down to my story again, I was able to give it my full attention without feeling like the story was being forced. If I began to feel like I was stuck, I’d sit down with a book or a movie and just forget my book for a day or two. Then I was able to go back refreshed.

What would you do differently on a next project?

I don’t know that I would do anything different on my next project. Except maybe the story.

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

I’m asked this a lot. My only advise is this…if you want to write, then do it. Don’t think about it,don’t plan,just sit down and see what comes out.

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

My new website is now up… http://www.slperrine.com

They can also contact me on Facebook. http://www.Facebook.com/slperrine

What are you planning to write/publish next?

Currently I have two series that I’m working on. Immortal Slumber is book one of The Crawford Witch Chronicles, an will be published by The Dragons Rockettship Publishing, LLC.

The other is The Beast Within Series and The Beast Within: book one is scheduled for release for March 2017 with Burning Willow Press, LLC.

 

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