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?
firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.