A Few Quick Questions With…Nicky Peacock

Earlier today, I blogged about Nicky Peacock’s Lost in Wonderland, not only did she send me her book, she agreed to take part in the little Q&A. Not only does she write a fun book, but she helps me generate content — a couple of my favorite traits in people. Hope you enjoy her answers, I did.

Tell me a little about your road to publication.
It’s been a long and bumpy road and, to be honest, I’m still not at my final destination yet. I’d like to write for a living, and right now that’s not a reality. I have to fit in writing with a full-time job. My dream would be to wake up every morning and know that I had all day to write and plot and socialise online with readers and other authors.

I’d always wanted to be an author; I can’t remember a time I didn’t. I’m passionate about stories, but unfortunately, I tended to lose excitement before I finished anything! I wrote a lot of beginnings and not many endings, so never sold anything. I then found the short story market. Thanks to eBooks it’s thriving and finishing a short story is much easier than a 90,000-word novel, so I wrote them for a few years. Next thing I knew I had over 35 stories published and thought I’d better start writing something longer and my first novella, Bad Blood came tumbling out of my imagination.

What was the genesis of this book/novel? Of all the dozens of ideas bouncing around your cranium — what was it about this idea that made you say, “Yup — this is the one for me.”?
It was always in my head, but last year was Alice in Wonderland‘s 150th anniversary, so I thought the time had come to get Lost in Wonderland out and set it free upon the unsuspecting world. I write YA fiction and had read lots of books about spies and the like, but wanted to take it one step further with teens who bait and catch serial killers. There’s a rather disturbing statistic that, right now, there are at least 3 active serial killers in the UK every year (The UK is about the size of just one US state, so that’s even scarier math!) and very few are caught. It boggles the mind to think of how technological advanced we are, but still can’t nail down these devils preying on the innocent. In my book, Wonderland is a vigilante agency set up to do just that, to work above the law and sometimes even under it, and to do whatever it takes to stop serial killers. The Lewis Carroll connection is through the founders of Wonderland, their daughter Alice was murdered, and the killer was only caught when they took the law into their own vengeful hands.
What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
I’d probably have to say Twilight. Vampires are my favorite monster, and although it didn’t break the bank with uniqueness, the author really developed her world and the characters in it. This is something that can be lacking with vampire stories as they are so larger than life, the creatures themselves can act as a crutch for a storyline so the writer doesn’t bother to delve any deeper. Also, it made a tonne of money, and I’m not too proud to say that I could really use even a fraction of that right now!
What is it about YA/”Teen” fiction that attracts you? Are all your works targeted to that audience?
I do some work for adult audiences (wait, does that sound rude? LOL) But I enjoy writing for teens. Their books have come a long way since The Famous Five and to be honest, you don’t even need to pull your punches that much when it comes to violence anymore. I’d hate to think that I’d written anything patronizing to my readers or even unrealistic – even when my subject matter is anything but real. There’s also the double dip effect in this market where adult readers will buy teen books too so you can gain more exposure an author.

The YA market is very loyal. I’d like to think that my readers, as they get older will still want to read my books.

I’ve often heard that writers (or artists in general) will forget hundreds of positive reviews but always remember the negative — what’s the worst thing that someone’s said about one of your books, and has it altered your approach to future books?
I’m very lucky in that the majority of my reviews are good. It can be frustrating when reviewers effectively ‘mark you down’ for opposite opinions, for example saying the book was too descriptive and then saying it wasn’t descriptive enough. I also get annoyed when someone gives me a low star rating but doesn’t put a review with it, that way I never know why they didn’t like it and what I could change in the future to help my work.

One of the things that reviewers have said about Lost in Wonderland is that they wish it had been longer. I’m currently writing the second book in the series, The Assassin of Oz and am making this longer now to make up for it.
Thank you so much for having me here today. If you’d like to find me online:

Blog:   Twitter: Y A Facebook Page:   UK Amazon Author Page: 

US Amazon Author page:   Good Reads: Tumblr:  Authorgraph:

Thanks for your time — and the book. Looking forward to what happens next.

A Few Quick Questions With…Kimberlee Ann Bastian

So, for the second post on The Breedling and The City in the Garden book tour, we got a few questions with the author, Kimberlee Ann Bastian. As usual, I kept it short and sweet, because I’d rather she work on her next book than take too much time with me.

I see that this is being billed as a “reboot” of the novel — what does that mean for you and the book?
All it really means is that my first attempt was a dress rehearsal. I learned a great deal of what not to do when self-publishing and really it boils down to not cutting corners where your book is concerned. Not that I meant to cut corners. I just didn’t have the proper funds. You’re either all in or you’re not and though my first intentions were good and I had the drive, it wasn’t quite what I imaged it would be. Now, with the brilliant team at Wise Ink Creative Publishing, I have an extraordinary team to work with and all the tools an indie author needs to realize his or her vision. The Breedling and the City in the Garden is now, after eight years of trial and error, the way it was always meant to be with all the professional bells and whistles included.
Most authors have dozens of ideas bouncing around their craniums at once — what was it about this idea that made you say, “Yup — this is the one for me.”?
The idea for the Element Odysseys came to me at a time when I actually had no other ideas running through my head. I put all my energies into the concept and it really helped me write my way out of a trialing situation and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
What kind of research — if any — did you have to do for this? Uncover any nuggets that were so great that you had to rework the story just to fit some of your research into things?
The research journey for this book and for the series in its entirety has been fascinating. I have tapped into every vital online database, read countless books and articles. Watched a few documentaries and I went above and beyond the scope of what has made it into the final version of the story. I have even visited the sites of Chicago where the story takes place, or what’s left of them. For The Breedling and the City in the Garden, the greatest historical nugget I found came during my second round of editing when I was working on changing the title. I came across the Great Seal of Chicago, which on the seal the Latin phrase Urbs In Horto is present. Upon learning the translation Garden City or City in the Garden, I knew I had to reference it in the story and ultimately it became the second half of the title.

Who are some of your major influences? (whether or not you think those influences can be seen in your work — you know they’re there)
I think for this first book I pulled a great deal of inspiration from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Irene Hunt’s No Promises in the Wind and Mark Twain when creating the historic feel of the story. For the mythology elements of the story, I did draw a little from HBO’s Carnivale in how to blend the historical with the fantastical. Although for those familiar with the series, I’m not nearly as abstract. Subconsciously, I probably took some inspiration from Harry Potter as well, for I have already been told the opening chapter is reminiscent of Dumbledore and McGonagall in the beginning of The Sorcerer’s Stone (The Philosopher’s Stone).
What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
This is the hardest question by far—haha. (pauses to contemplate) In the book category, I’d have to say Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. I’m also going to go a little rogue and choose a musical, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, it is my current obsession.

Thank you kindly for letting me swing by The Irresponsible Reader, H. C. It has been a blast chatting with you! Happy Reading.

Thanks for your time, Ms. Bastian, I wish you and the release the best.

A Few Quick Questions With…Lauren Carr

So, for the second post on The Murders at Astaire Castle (Audiobook) book tour, we got a few questions with the author, Lauren Carr. This has the distinction of featuring the most poorly-worded question I’ve asked here — I’m pretty embarassed by that. But, “Always Forward,” right? As usual, I kept it short and sweet, because I’d rather she work on her next book than take too much time with me.

So, I realize The Murders at Astaire Castle is written to be accessible to new readers, but what would be useful to new readers to know before picking it up?
The Murders at Astaire Castle is a murder mystery with a touch of paranormal. It is not a paranormal book with a murder mystery. The mystery is at the forefront of plot.
There’s a hint of the supernatural running through this book — is this typical for your work/this series? If not, what led you to the choice?
For The Murders at Astaire Castle, I wanted to do a Halloween mystery. What better than a haunted house—or better yet a castle? Of course, you needed a murder mystery. Then, I asked, who would be the victim? Who else but a paranormal author.

Halloween has always been a fun time. It’s the time to break out and be someone else. As a child, I would pretend to be one of the Bobbsey Twins searching for clues to lead me to a secret treasure. If I was lucky, it was made up of chocolate. As a teenager, I was Nancy Drew. Always, when October rolled around, I craved mysteries with something extra added—something beyond the normal—something supernatural.

But I wasn’t looking to do a paranormal book. I am a murder mystery writer and I love murder mysteries. So, it had to be a murder mystery with a supernatural touch.

The Murders at Astaire Castle has a touch of everything. We have the dark and spooky castle with rumors of a curse. We have hidden passage ways. Things happening that defy a logical explanation. We even have a wolf man! And it’s not Gnarly.

What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
Now You See Me. The twists and turns in this movie left me breathless. I saw none of it coming.
Is there a genre that you particularly enjoy reading, but could never write? Or are you primarily a mystery/suspense/thriller reader?
I am primarily a murder mystery writer and reader. I always have been and I love murder mysteries. When I was a child reading the Bobbsey Twins, I would turn the mystery of the missing sea shell into a kidnapping story.
This many books into a series, is it easier or more difficult to keep going? What challenges are you finding doing this that you didn’t expect?
So far, the difficulty is in keeping up with the directions that the characters themselves want to go. I am always one book ahead in my mind. So, while writing a book, I have a very good idea what direction that I will be taking my characters further down the road.

For example, right now I am writing A Fine Year for Murder, the next Thorny Rose Mystery. Mac Faraday and the Spencer gang make an appearance in this mystery. Keeping in mind my plot for the next Mac Faraday Mystery, I am able to plant seeds for Bonding with Murder and even the Mac Faraday mystery that will be following that. These dropping aren’t necessary clues—rather, they are Easter eggs that will make faithful readers go, “Ahh, I remember Mac saying something about that back in A Fine Year for Murder.”

The biggest challenge, I have found is characters. I fight to keep my characters interesting and even diverse. There are characters in my books who everyone loves. But then, sometimes I will introduce a new character who I find unique and different who some readers object to. This happened with Cameron Gates in the Lovers in Crime mysteries. Some readers loved her. Others didn’t. The same thing is happening now with Dallas Walker in the Mac Faraday mysteries. She appears to be a love her or hate her character with nothing in between.

Which goes to prove the fact of life—you can’t make everyone love you.

Thanks for your time and the opportunity to read (well, listen to) this book.

A Few Quick Questions With…Darrell Drake

For the second time this week, sleep won a victory over my finishing a post, so you won’t be reading what I thought about this author’s book (spoiler: it’s something special). Thankfully, however, We get to spend a few minutes with Darrell Drake today before I post my thoughts on his book A Star-Reckoner’s Lot tomorrow–a stand-alone fantasy set in Sassanian Iran (yeah, I had to look it up, too). He’s got like a million things going on in the days leading up to the release this weekend. so we kept things short and sweet so he could focus on the important things. Hope you enjoy.

Bonus technical question: [I don’t normally do this, but I figured it might help readers] What’s that mark over the “s” in Waray’s dialogue? How should readers pronounce that (even in just their heads)?
You’re the first to ask! The mark you’re referring to is a diacritic that goes by the name of caron(ˇ). My original intention was to use an “s” with a line below it, but there arose issues with rendering it on certain devices and in certain file types. All’s well, though, because its replacement (š) serves as the official romanization of the Persian letter Shin, which is pronounced “sh”. Relevant to Sassanian Iran, the second King of Kings to rule the empire was Shapur, which is sometimes written Šapur. In Waray’s case it’s pronounced “sho-“. I figured readers would at the very least realize she pronounces it differently due to the diacritic.
So, you’re on the verge of publishing a book funded by Kickstarter — looking back on it, how was that process? Would you/are you going to do it again? What did you learn from that?
In a word: stressful. It was stressful as all get out. What’s more, I went through the process twice for the same book (about a year apart). The goal set for my initial campaign was a bit too ambitious, and I adjusted accordingly the second time around.

Running a Kickstarter is also very illuminating, because much of what goes on behind the scenes isn’t someone a backer would worry about. It isn’t until you’re in the thick of it that you come to appreciate the work that goes into a campaign (one that intends to deliver anyway). The logistics of backer rewards, trying to reconcile backer rewards with the cost of producing them and what you’re getting from pledges—it’s no small task. You send out many, many e-mails. You get in touch with folks for prospective rewards, for promotion, for research, for advice, for shipping, for packaging, for taxes, for—well, you get the idea. Again, it’s stressful, and so much more than simply throwing some reward tiers together.

While I don’t currently have any plans to do it again, I’d consider Kickstarter for future projects. It’s a powerful platform, and I’d be a fool not to at least consider.

Besides what I mentioned above with respect to what goes down behind the scenes, I’d say it taught me who I can depend on. And that came with some surprises. I have an greater appreciation for those who went out of their way to help on many fronts. These kind souls showed a genuine interest in championing something that’s dear to my heart. Something I’ve toiled over for years. That is no small gesture, and if it were up to me (and not my notoriously unreliable memory), I’d never forget any of it.

Sassanian Iran — I’m sure you’ve been asked before, but I probably won’t be the last: where did you get this idea? Had you previously researched the time/culture — or was this something you had to do after coming up with the idea.
This is where that tenuous memory comes into play. I can give you a general idea, though. Before settling into Sassanian Iran as a setting, I had an idea of the character and her travels. From there, I set off in search of, well, somewhere that stood out. I came across Sassanian Iran in my research into the history of the Middle East—when or where exactly I can’t be certain. But something there led me to the national epic of Iran, the Shahnameh (and later the Hamzanama).

I can tell you with conviction that the former had an undeniable impact on the course of my research. Like any good epic, it delineated the history of Iran, and did so with flair and magic and adventure. Something in there nudged me toward Sassanian Iran. When I learned of its impact on the history of the world, and of the unsung nature of that impact, I delved deeper. In doing so, I found the perfect setting for Ashtadukht. The legends, the culture, the lands, the history: it all fit.

What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
Breaking Bad ended in 2013, so that counts, yeah? Naturally, I’d like to see success on that scale. More than that, it’s a drama that I sincerely doubt I’ll ever live up to. The narrative is damn brilliant, and riddled with nuances. It’s powerful, it speaks to people, and it is a shining example that a TV series can be art as much as any movie or book.

Figure I should include a book, since I’m an author and all. In this case, I’ll use Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars (without really going through everything I’ve read). He’s a luminary for a reason, one who wields both history and prose better than I ever could. He’s demonstrated as much time and again, but River of Stars is especially beautiful. There’s an earthiness to the characters, a coziness that describes them as real people. They don’t feel the slightest bit fictitious (I realize some are fantasy depictions of real-world figures). He’s a master of his craft. Certainly of historical fantasy.

I’ve often heard that writers (or artists in general) will forget hundreds of positive reviews but always remember the negative — what’s the worst thing that someone’s said about one of your books, and has it altered your approach to future books?
I’m not sure I could pick out the worst thing. I’ve probably tried to bury it for my own sake. But when I first started writing people would often comment negatively on my prose—purple prose, namely. It wasn’t entirely unfounded. Well, I’ve since learned from that, and evolved my writing to work in some of the more inventive words here and there while generally being more relaxed for the most part.

I did have readers sometimes find issues with characters that must have been influenced by their own issues with the world. Too busy trying to find political or social commentary that wasn’t there. I try to avoid that kind of thing.

With your next book on the verge of release, what comes next? Are you neck deep in a draft, or are you waiting for A Star-Reckoner’s Lot to be launched before diving in?
I’m hunkered down with A Star-Reckoner’s Lot, and doing my utmost to make its release a success. Too focused on keeping the book afloat and securing its future to really concentrate on what’s next. Some authors can manage both; I am not one of them. And I don’t want to look back and think that I should have given A Star-Reckoner’s Lot my undivided attention. In most cases, you get one launch. One. If I’m going to screw it up, I don’t want it to be because I wasn’t giving it my all.

Thank you very much for having me, H. C. You brought up some topics I haven’t had the pleasure of discussing, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. May your beard always be full.

Thanks for your time and the answers, Darrel. I hope the launch goes well.

A Few Quick Questions With…S. C. Flynn

You’ve maybe seen him here and there in the feedback for various and sundry posts, I know I have. S. C. Flynn’s been all over this blog — and I appreciate it. Thankfully, his book was good enough that I didn’t have to feel awkward (because it’s all about me, right?) Here’s a lil’ Q&A that S.C. and I did this week. I didn’t actually ask him more questions than usual — he edited my questions to make the answers better.

1. Why Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy (I didn’t even know that was a thing)?.
It is rare; I can hardly think of any examples of this sub-genre, and those are a long way from CHILDREN OF THE DIFFERENT. I suppose post-apocalyptic fantasy is rare because, as I see it, it is a mix of science fiction and fantasy. SF provides the background – in my case, an epidemic that affects the human brain such that by adolescence the second generation of survivors are already in part a new human species with enhanced abilities. Then the fantasy comes in, based on science and a little bit of magic!
I found this a neat way to let my imagination go where it wanted, while still having a plausible basis in our world.
2. Why YA?
I have written various other novels – all fantasy, but very different from this one – and been close to breaking into conventional publishing via professional literary agents over a period of many years. I had never written Young Adult before, though, so it was something new to try, together with the new strategy of quality self-publishing that I am carrying out, with an all-pro support team.
Writing YA has been a really enjoyable challenge. A Young Adult novel must have all the things that any good novel must have: strong plot, well-developed characters and convincing setting. By definition, the writer is limited in how much sex, coarse language and graphic violence can be included in a YA novel. That means that you have to work harder with those basic components I mentioned – plot, characters and setting, in order to achieve your effects you need.
Once I had the basic idea – namely, following the brain disease epidemic that destroyed civilisation, adolescents go into a coma and emerge either with special powers or as dangerous Ferals – the choice of YA was made for me. The logical time for this Changing to occur was at the onset of puberty, so the main characters (twins Arika and Narrah – a girl and a boy) are 13 years old. Arika and Narrah can read and write, but they have always lived in a small, isolated non-industrial settlement, and their language and thoughts are conditioned by their limited knowledge of the world. In CHILDREN, we see everything from the twins’ viewpoint, so the style in which their story is told necessarily had to be simple and clear. That fits perfectly with the Young Adult audience.
3. What was it about this story that made you say — yup, this is the one?
CHILDREN OF THE DIFFERENT leaped into my mind almost fully formed once I had the basic idea. Of all my novels, CHILDREN was by far the easiest and quickest to write, at least as far as the first draft was concerned.

I am an obsessive reviser, so that was four years ago, during which time there have been long pauses while I was revising other novels, or even – surprisingly enough – taking some time off from revision. Still, the first draft of CHILDREN virtually wrote itself – every day when I needed a scene, it was there ready-made.
I had never written about Australia before, so probably, without realising it, I had a great amount of background knowledge ready to use. My other novels are quasi-historical fantasy and required a lot of research.

I think the main characters really wanted to tell their story, as well.

4. You’ve been doing the SF/F blog thing for a while now — how has that helped you as a novelist??
The style of writing that works on a blog is completely different from what fiction requires, so I see them as two separate skills. As I said before, I have written novels for many years, so my fiction style was probably formed in large part before I started blogging.

Blogging certainly keeps you up with the latest books and what people are saying about them, and the skills of writing blog posts is essential for trying to publicise your fiction. Setting up a blog also brought me out of my corner, where I had been writing for years, and got me into contact with lots of cool people who have helped and encouraged me.

5. What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that?”
Wool by Hugh Howey. A very clever dystopian idea, and also a book that helped to revolutionise the self-publishing industry.
6. Aside from a burning desire to buy copies to give away as gifts, what are you hoping your readers take away from this book?
An optimistic post-apocalyptic story like CHILDREN is an important one to tell, for me. It contains a warning about the dangers of technology, together with hope for what our society could achieve if technology were used for good purposes.

CHILDREN also contains a hopeful message that our very young people can achieve great things. Like the twins, adolescents are not stupid, but just lacking in experience, exposed to dangerous influences and struggling to work out who or what they are turning into. It is up to us to give them the best chance we can and leave them the best world we possibly can./td>

7. What’s next for S. C. Flynn?
There has so far been a fair bit of interest from reviewers in seeing more of the world of CHILDREN OF THE DIFFERENT. So, one possibility would be to write a sequel.
The alternative would be to publish one of the completed novels I referred to before. Three of those are of publishable quality, in my opinion, having been through years of editing by professional literary agents, as well as my own fanatical revision.For now, I will wait and see what happens with CHILDREN.
Thanks so much for your time, and I hope your launch week meets with a lot of success.

A Few Quick Questions With…Cathy Kennedy

I just posted my thoughts on Cathy Kennedy’s Meeting of the Mustangs, and now I’m glad to present her first interview-ish thing. Hope you enjoy — I probably chuckled more at these answers than I have any of the other Q&A’s I’ve done.

What initially prompted this story (if you can recall, that is)? Why did you come back to it years later?
My dad gave me an Olivetti electric typewriter and a ream of nice, thick paper. I rolled a piece of paper into the typewriter and just started typing. After moving away from that house in the country where we owned horses, the story was abandoned. That was about a hundred years ago and I still have that old manuscript.

Coming back to it was very difficult. I was dealing with a nasty case of writer’s block. Even though for years I knew in my head (mostly) how the story would end, I just couldn’t get it into words. I eventually moved back to the country and now have horses for neighbors. That helped tremendously, and once I got going again, I was okay.

I suppose I should also give some credit to my sister, who never left it alone ~
“Are you working on your book?”
“Are you working on your book?”
“Are you working on your book?”
etc., etc., etc…

What kinds, if any, of specific research did you do?
There wasn’t much research involved, really. The one thing that sticks out to me was looking at a map of the United States. I wanted to have the horses traveling through more than one state and tried keep the original manuscript as intact as possible. I had to look at the map to find where several states were in close proximity so the horses wouldn’t get too tired.
What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
Oh, no. I’m kind of an old soul. I don’t watch or read much of anything new.

Do commercials count? I like the Neosporin commercial where the little girl is telling her friends about how she jumped the rapids on her bike. That’s really cute writing.

What was the biggest surprise about the writing itself? Either, “I can’t believe X is so easy!” or “If I had known Y was going to be so hard, I’d have skipped this and watched more TV”.
Okay, that one’s easy. If I had known marketing was going to be so hard, I’d have skipped this and watched more TV. Ugh. Let’s just say I have a new respect for successful salespeople that I’ve never had before this. Getting an unknown author’s story into the hands of readers is an ongoing struggle. /td>
What’s next for Cathy Kennedy, Author?
Well, I’ve had more than one person tell me they’d like to see a sequel. Please don’t tell my sister.

A Few Quick Questions With…Devri Walls

Devri Walls was kind enough to participate in a Q&A with me along with providing me a copy of her book The Wizard’s Heir (see my thoughts on it from earlier today). I asked her a little bit about the book, what’s next for her, and her writing in general. In addition to Heir, she’s got a YA series and another one on the way — I’d recommend checking at least one of those out.

What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
The Hollow City concept was genius and so fun! I would’ve loved to have come up with that and been able to work a story around those incredible pictures. Also, The Mortal Instrument Series. To be the one to have come up with Shadow Hunters… oh man! So much fun would’ve been had!
In the writing of The Wizard’s Heir, what was the biggest surprise about the writing itself?  Either, “I can’t believe X is so easy!” or “If I had known Y was going to be so hard, I’d have skipped this and watched more TV”.
I’ve written enough books, and enough drafts of books, that I can usually predict where my trouble spots will be. While annoying in their consistency, it’s not usually a surprise. On the other hand, I’m almost always surprised by a character. I’ll add a new one, intending them to play a small, meaningless part, and then fall in love and alter the plot to include them as a larger player. It’s always the best thing that could’ve happen to the story, but still a surprise.

In The Wizard’s Heir it was, Asher. Everyone, including myself, really connected with him. He was a bit of a throw away character until I added the scene where he goes to the boat to pick up supplies, and that was it, I loved him immediately and gave him a much larger role to play. The Wizard’s Heir is a stand alone novel but I’ve been approached several times about writing a second book in that world, while I don’t have one officially in the plans, if I ever did it would be written with Asher as the main character.

Who are some of your major influences? (whether or not you think those influences can be seen in your work — you know they’re there)
I’ve been influenced by Cassandra Clare, Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Cinda Williams Chima to name a few. I also pick up a little good with any great book I read. There are always little nuggets that I try to make note of to improve the next book.
I’ve often heard that writers, or artists in general, will forget hundreds of positive reviews but always remember the negative — what’s the worst thing that someone’s said about one of your books, and has it altered your approach to future books?
The worst thing? Oh man, something about, “this story would’ve been good if an author with talent had written it.” Lol. Nice, right? Negative reviews did alter my writing in the best way possible. I realized fairly quickly that the things one person complained about, someone else loved, and vice versa. In addition, where some people hate my work… with more vehement than perhaps necessary, others love what I write with a passion far and above what it probably deserves. I could write the Pulitzer prize winning novel and someone would still write a review that it was the worst pile of drivel they’d every read. Once I realized that, those negative reviews became freeing, I do the absolute best I can at the time and that’s all I can do. I push myself, hard. And I rewrite until I throw my hands up and say, I really can’t do any more.
It looks like your next book is on the verge of release, what can you tell us about that — and what comes next?
Yes! My Venator series is getting close to the release of book one. I’m always hesitant to give a date until I have return commitments from the editors but I am hoping for late August, early September.

I’m really excited about this series. I’m still working on the official blurb but it’s the story of two teenagers who cross through the St. Louis arch to an alternate dimension where everything you’ve ever read about exists—Fae and Vampires, Werewolves and Dragons. Seriously, nothing is off limits and it is so much fun to work with. I think my readers who were missing the environment of The Solus Series will be especially pleased with this. The Venator series is slated for multiple books, so that’s where my brain is at right now, but I have a whole notebook full of story ideas that I will get to eventually.

Since I don’t have an official blurb in hand yet, can I give your readers a sneak peek of the cover?

Nice looking cover! Thanks for your time, and thanks for The Wizard’s Heir.