A Few Quick Questions With…Faith Hunter


I’ve gotta say, I was pretty intimidated when I got the word that Faith Hunter was going to participate in this, but it ended up being a lot easier to come up with questions to ask her than it was for many other writers. The main problem was cutting them down to five! Anyway, I enjoyed this — hope you do, too.

Ms. Hunter, before we begin, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to provide some A’s to the Q’s here. I’ve been reading the Yellowrock series since 2011 and have been become a big fan of your work. I want to ask about a dozen questions about the last two or three chapters of Flame in the Dark, but I don’t think you’d want to answer them — and if you did, you wouldn’t let me post your answers. Here are their replacements, which should be spoiler-free, and hopefully you haven’t been asked too many times.
Thank you for that. And I am glad to be here!
First off, what’s been the reaction from your fans toward this spin-off? Anything surprising about the reaction (hopefully positive surprises, but I’ve been online long enough to not know to assume that).
I was not expecting the fans to love Nell or the Soulwood series in any great numbers, but the sales figures for the most recent books are nearly the same — Soulwood #2 (Curse on the Land) and Jane Yellowrock #11, (Cold Reign). And they really adore Nell. They root for her and they pull for her and they want her to get that all important Improperly Proper Kiss!
Each book comes with its own particular set of challenges. What were the particular challenges of Flame in the Dark?
Mostly keeping Nell heading in the right direction. She came from a very restrictive background, so while I want her to experience life in all its sensory and emotional delights, I also want to keep her on the straight and narrow in terms of being true to herself. I want to make sure that she doesn’t lose sight of who she is, and what made her strong. She is a multi-faceted character with a lot of depth and I want to make sure she is never a Milquetoast.
For me, one of the highlights of the Soulwood books is Nell’s reaction to the food (mostly of the “junk” variety) her colleagues are introducing her to. It’s such a subtle and effective way to remind/demonstrate just how far away her life was from the world we all know before she joined up with PsyLED (and so fun to watch this farm-to-table type woman revel in processed foods). Assuming I’m not reading too much into that — why food? Why not . . . the Internet or music? Was it a conscious choice, or just something that started that you ran with? Is the research for it just dreadful? How many Krispy Kremes do you have to eat to make sure you get it right? 🙂 [sorry I babbled a bit there . . . ]
(laughing) The Internet was something she had already learned about through the library system in her town of Knoxville. So while her knowledge of the databases has expanded dramatically, the concept wasn’t brand new to her. As to music, Nell grew up listening to mostly old-fashioned acapella church music. I’m honestly not certain what kind of music she would like, so I haven’t gone there yet. I feel that music will need a deft hand for Nell, and I don’t have that yet. But FOOD! Part of the reason why food, is that I can’t eat many kinds of processed foods anymore. I’m allergic to all corn products and so that means I no longer get pizza or commercially made doughnuts. I miss all that great stuff!!! I am living through Nell’s taste buds, while becoming much more the farm-to-table eater myself now.
The religious lives of Jane and Nell play a more significant role in the novels than any other Urban Fantasy series I can think of, where does that come from? How do you approach bringing their faith (understanding that Nell’s is in flux given her past) into the stories in a way that seems authentic?
My dad taught me to look at EVERY subject from EVERY side, and to work to understand why people think and believe as they do. He also made me look at the ways those thought systems and belief systems contributed to their strengths and weakness as individuals and as members of society. He was a wily man, my daddy was. And what I’ve discovered is ALL people are people of faith, whether that faith is a religious one or a rational one, a spiritual one or a physical one, a churchy one or a scientific one. Therefore, addressing faith (for me, as a writer), becomes a part of each story and character on some level. Nell is struggling with faith, because for her, faith is all messed up with sex and abuse and cruelty. For Occam, faith is all tied up with betrayal. For Nell’s mother, faith is all about surviving and growing through life’s difficulties into strength and forgiveness. For Rick, faith is all about forgiving himself for stupidity that led to pain and lost relationships.
What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
Robin McKinley’s Sunshine was a masterpiece.
Devon Monk makes me intensely jealous. She is SUCH a talent!
Chloe Neill’s Devil’s Isle series is spectacular!
/td>
Again, thanks for your time and participation. I hope Flame in the Dark is as successful as it deserves to be, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for either Jane or Nell.
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A Few Quick Questions With…Nathaniel Barber

Like many things in this Book Tour stop, getting this Q&A together almost didn’t happen — but Barber stepped up and got some good A’s together for the Q’s a I threw at him. All while prepping for a book release party. Couldn’t have been easy, but it’s much appreciated.

There was a good deal of jumping around in time in your arrangement here, why did you choose not to start with young Nathaniel and move forward? Was there a strategy (that you care to share) behind the arrangement?

I’m aware that jumping around the timeline could seem like a gimmick. I understood that was a risk but it was a risk I felt was worth taking.

Chronology is a tool. It is very useful. It sets the pace and sometimes, when there’s a lot of messiness and moving parts, chronology can be the only thing that holds a narrative together.

Arranging these stories in chronological order demanded segues between the chapters. They just didn’t read right without them. Maybe it was somehow possible, but I was having a bear of a time trying to make them flow. These segues were lengthy and distracting. You can imagine, for example, the acrobatics required to naturally transition between hosting an exchange student from Paris, to an obsession about pants.

“Time passed. The days grew into weeks and my thoughts turned to pants…” and so on. No thank you.

I admire brevity. While these stories could use a bit more economy of language, the subject matter is very tight. The scope of the story is singular and isolated. These stories stand on their own. I like that about a short story. It demands so much from the reader: they must put the pieces together themselves. A short story reader is a smart reader. With barely enough information, they’re able to carry the weight. It’s participatory. A shared experience.

Similarly — what led to you choosing the events to write about?
Really, the stories chose me. I know that sounds glib. I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear authors say things like, “The stories chose me.” But it’s true. As I mentioned, I struggled with these stories to an obscene length. They simply would not let me alone. Many of them were not easy to tell. I would have preferred something witty and artful, but instead I got stuck with these plain-jane stories. They’ve grown on me since though. I’ve developed a great appreciation for banality, thanks to these stories.
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”.
The biggest surprise for me was that there would be an end to working on these stories. Writing and editing a story is a suffocating experience. Sometimes it seems they will never be finished. Their arc, the characters and the concepts that are juggled around a story are sometimes so nebulous and scattershot it seems like a game of whack-a-mole. But I kept working on them, and eventually, story by story, I wrote that last sentence. It’s quite a thing, when you know you wrote the last sentence, even if it still needs to go through a number of edits—it’s a thrilling process, to fine-tune that last sentence.
A lot of what makes a writer are the books that he’s read — what books in particular do you think made you the writer you are/the book the book it is?
Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos and Pat Conroy’s The Death of Santini and Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and Alice Munro’s Dear Life.
You’re leading quite the interesting life — is there another book in you? (or are you waiting to see how this goes?)
Yes, I contain multitudes (to quote Whitman). Luck Favors The Prepared is a way of asking for permission to write more. I have so much more in me, I can’t wait to get it out there. There’s two books of rhyme and meter poetry on the way. One is a book of childish poems for adults, and the other is a book of grown-up poems for children. What could go wrong? Also, soon I’ll have another collection of nonfiction short stories (and some fiction short stories) as well as as novel which I’ve begun but I hate. I hope I fall in love with this novel soon because so far, the outlook is grim. It doesn’t seem very funny, it deals with a lot of awful, horrible characters. There is violence, there are some terribly graphic scenes I don’t know how to write yet. And worst of all, I have no idea what will redeem the story. So, the jury’s out on that one.

A Few Quick Questions With…B.C.R. Fegan

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a wonderful children’s book, Henry and the Hidden Treasure, and now the author of that book, B.C.R. Fegan is back on the blog for a few questions about the book and his writing in general.

I’m fascinated by the process of putting together a book like this — have you and Wen worked together before? Do you script it out, including the images, like a comic book writer?
Henry and the Hidden Treasure was the first book that Wen and I worked on together. She is an extremely talented illustrator which is what caught my eye in the beginning.

The actual process of working with an illustrator is fairly straightforward. Generally, the first step is to have a designer who can lay out the book with the required margins and provide the text at a size appropriate for the age group. This layout (or scamp) makes it easy for the illustrator to see how much room they have to play with, and where any negative space should be.

The next step is the brief itself. For Henry and the Hidden Treasure, a fair amount of direction was provided. This is only because when I write, I do it with the illustrations in mind. For children in this age group, the visual aspect of the story comes first and the narrative provides reinforcement to their imagination. This is why I needed scenes drawn in specific ways or from certain perspectives.

The way this is done is simply by scripting out each page with characters, events, actions taking place and anything else that reinforces what is going on in that scene. Other aspects include any colors (if they are important), lighting, perspectives, emotions or a certain ambience that I’m looking for. In addition to this, I provide overall direction that is important or that might be helpful to the illustrator. What is great though with talented artists, is they can take this direction and elevate it to a place even more impressive than the scenes visualized in the mind.

The third step is really the fine tuning. As the illustrations are completed and sent through, they are checked. Sometimes they are great the way they are – at other times, there might be some minor amendments.

The final step is receiving the files in a project format ready for the design stage.

As I mentioned it is fairly straightforward but by no means the only way of working with an illustrator. Wen and I work together really well and the process has always been quite smooth. I’m very lucky to know her.

Of all the ideas flitting around your head, what was it about this one that made you say, “this is the one.”
When I consider ideas for children’s books, I generally try to center my thoughts on exciting subjects or narratives. I want my books to be filled with imagination rather than lessons. So for Henry and the Hidden Treasure, the whole idea came about from considering hidden treasure – particularly as a child might perceive it. It was from this point that the story itself was crafted.

Once complete, I didn’t really pick up the manuscript and think that it was ‘the one’. I guess my approach might be a little different to other authors, but by centering my thoughts on something that children already find exciting, I’m fairly confident that the idea will naturally develop into a nice story.

I appreciated the subtlety of the moral/lesson to Henry and the Hidden Treasure — how’d you decide to convey it that way?
As I mentioned previously, the subject of hidden treasure was where the story began. I think this leant itself quite well to considering what real hidden treasure might be in the context of the family unit – particularly with siblings.

I wanted this to be a subtle theme rather than the driving force behind the book, mainly because I think imagination should take priority. Too many books start with the lesson, and often the narrative feels contrived.

In the writing of Henry and the Hidden Treasure, 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”.
This is a difficult question. Henry and the Hidden Treasure actually came together fairly organically. I guess in a sense, writing it was quite easy. However, I remember something my father once said to me that I think applies to authors as well.

I remember as a child watching my father, a locksmith, unlock customer’s front doors very quickly – sometimes in just a few seconds. On the rare occasion, a minor objection would be made about the cost in relation to the time it took to open the lock. He explained to me later that what so many people fail to realize is that his ability to open the lock so quickly was because he had dedicated his life to perfecting his craft. What sat behind those few seconds, was decades of training, study, understanding the right tools and constant practice.

I enjoy writing, and have been reading and writing for as long as I can remember. Henry and the Hidden Treasure was definitely a pleasure to write and I certainly wouldn’t say any aspect of it was difficult. However I don’t want to leave the impression that this was just a lucky break. The difficulty for most authors I think lies in everything that came before!

What’s next for you? Are you sticking with the children’s books?
I actually have a long list of children’s books going through the stages of publishing. The next one should be out toward the end of the year. In addition to children’s books, I am in the process of writing Young Adult Fiction. I think the future will include children’s picture books, young adult fiction – and probably everything in between.
Thanks for your time, Mr. Fegan. Readers (especially those with younger kids) — go check out Henry and the Hidden Treasure.

A Few Quick Questions With…Russ Colchamiro

This is the longest, and strangest, “Book Tour” I’ve done — it’s actually three separate events, but it’s all been promoting the book, Love, Murder & Mayhem. There was the book blurb and review for the original tour stop, then a Book Blitz post, and now we get to ask a the editor, Russ Colchamiro a few questions. Sure, it’s been irregular, but I’ve enjoyed it. If for no other reason, than I get to keep talking about this really fun anthology.

Anyway, on with the questions…

I really enjoyed Love, Murder & Mayhem, best anthology I’ve read in quite a while. What was the genesis for this project — particularly the theme. How did you recruit this collection of contributors?
Thanks! Glad you had so much fun with it. I appreciate that.

While writing Genius de Milo, the second book in my Finders Keepers scifi backpacking comedy series, I introduced—briefly—the character of Angela Hardwicke. Though her portion takes place in the fictional setting of Eternity, she’s a private eye in that classic Sam Spade tradition. I bumped up her role considerably for the third and final book, Astropalooza, and knew that I wanted to spend a lot more time with her, with plans to write a spin-off series, which I’m actually working on now. But before I jumped into a full book, I wanted to write a short story with Hardwicke in the lead, to get a better sense of who she was, her rhythms, and the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.

So I started the Love, Murder & Mayhem anthology through my publishing group—Crazy 8 Press. Including the other six core Crazy 8 members, I reached out to other writer friends to contribute, with every story containing at least one act of love or romance, at least one murder, and lots of mayhem. I initially thought I’d get nothing but private stories—I did a get a few—but the anthology contains superhero and supervillain stories, off-world and space cruiser stories, as well as A.I., private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travel, an aliens/monsters mash-up and … one DuckBob!

My story is “The Case of My Old New Life and the One I Never Knew,” where Hardwicke investigates a case of arson in a rock n club she visited the night before to see her favorite band. It was a lot of fun to write.

If Hardwicke ever gets herself a novel, I’ll be first in line to read it! That’s great to hear.

I know there’s a bunch of information about Finders Keepers on your website to lure in readers — and it’s worked for me, I should add. But other than that, how would you best entice someone to give the series a shot?

Finders Keepers is one of those books that readers either seem to love or want nothing to do with it! LOL! But if you like to have fun … it’s loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand and is centered on a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA. If you like Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Third Rock from the Sun, Harold & Kumar go to White Castle, Groundhog Day, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, it might be up your alley.

You can also check out this book trailer – http://russcolchamiro.com/books/finders-keepers/animated-trailer/

What is it about the Science Fiction that brings you back — or for that matter, what brought you to it in the first place? Is there a genre you particularly enjoy, but don’t think you could write?
Science fiction allows me to dream as big as I want. Nothing is off limits. Once you open up your worlds like that, your stories can go in directions that other genres simply can’t sustain. And it’s fun! As for other genres, I like a good political thriller now and then, but I’m not the guy to write one. I’ll definitely be writing more crime fiction, but I don’t have the bandwidth—or the desire—to get into geopolitical conspiracies. I’ll let other talented writers handle those!
What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
Ready Player One is a great book which I loved. I never could have written it—there’s so much detail in there with all of that great 80s nerd pop culture—but I’d be more than happy had it been mine! Breaking Bad for TV. Great show and the kind of writing and character arcs that are more my style. I’m leaning more in that direction anyway these days.
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?
LOL! I say up front that Finders Keepers is a bit raunchy (Genius de Milo and Astropalooza much less so), but I warn readers up front so that they know what they’re getting. In the middle of all the backpacking and cosmic lunacy, the characters—good natured but bumbling—are drinking beer, smoking some weed, having sex, and dropping some F bombs here and there. And yet I’ll still get a reader now and then who will say something like “The author says it’s a raunchy book, which I hate, but the premise sounded so cool that I read it anyway. I hated it! There’s sex and language and drinking and drugs and college humor. Why did he ruin it?”

Ugh. It’s like someone saying they hate horror, gore, and violence, watching The Chainsaw Massacre despite knowing the plot, and then complaining about the horror, gore, and violence! LOL! Eh. But what can you do? I don’t worry too much about it.

Between this series, Love, Murder & Mayhem, the various anthologies I’ve contributed to, and my space adventure Crossline, there’s plenty of options for readers to choose from. ☺

I want to thank Russ Colchamiro for taking time for this.

I was asked to add the promotional info about the book and editor to this, and sure, it’s been here already, but, hey — if this helps the book get some more eyeballs, why not?

About the Book:

Love science fiction stories that all include elements of Love, Murder & Mayhem?

Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one DuckBob!

With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ Colchamiro.

You’ll never look at Love, Murder & Mayhem the same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.

About the Editor:

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Stephen OramFinders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

One by One by Robert Germaux

And so we bring this Book Tour stop to the point where the material wasn’t pre-made, here are my thoughts on the novel. Short version: I enjoyed it.

One by OneOne by One

by Robert Germaux
Series: A Daniel Hays Mystery, Book 2
Kindle Edition, 342 pg.
2017
Read: July 12 – 13, 2017

Daniel Hays and his Special Assignment Squad — a Major Crimes squad set up to help smaller cities in the county around Pittsburgh — haven’t had a lot to do since being formed. That changes when the chief him Hampton Township has a strange homicide show up. He doesn’t need the help necessarily, but is concerned that the strangeness of the murder indicates that there could be something “big” coming. Another few homicides (at least) with the same strange element.

There’s a note left on the corpse, it reads “Blue is Better” and has a big, red check mark underneath. Daniel and his partner agree, they probably don’t need to be involved, but should be familiar with the investigation, just in case.

Good thing, too — because one week later in a very different part of the county, here’s another murder. With another note. Now things are getting serious and the SAS has to jump into action.

There’s no connection between the victims that they can find, no clues, no anything for them to go on. Just the notes, and repeated homicides on Fridays.

From there, we get an interesting twist or two there, some wrong turns, until after a lucky stroke, all the pieces fall together.

The characters are nice to spend time with, professionals who get along and work for the common good. They could possibly be a little more interesting if they were a little less professional, if there were a glitch or two in the teamwork. One by One falls into something like a “blue-sky” drama on TV — like NCIS, Burn Notice or White Collar, not the grittier Homicide, The Wire, or Bosch. This is not a dig at One by One to compare it to those shows — people love them, I’ve watched every episode of NCIS and enjoyed over 87% of them. But readers should go into this with eyes open — just because it’s a detective squad working multiple homicides, don’t go in expecting Michael Connelly, Owen Laukkanen, or Ian Rankin — expect Chris Grabenstein, David Rosenfelt, Aaron J. Elkins (check my archives, you’ll see that I’ve really enjoyed all those authors — again, this isn’t a knock, this is me describing where this belongs on a spectrum).

That said, Germaux could’ve given us a little more sense of urgency, had the characters seem less casual in their approach to this work. They did a lot of run of the mill, interviews with people that didn’t get them anywhere — even just showing more of that, would’ve been something. Maybe all of the smaller departments weren’t as cooperative with the task force. It wouldn’t have to be much, the book could’ve used a little something to intensify the drama. This was a good read, a light and enjoyable mystery; it’s thiiis close to me saying it’s a must read, but instead, I’ll leave it as a good read. You will enjoy it.This is a quick, easy story with a nice puzzle and some charming characters. I planned on reading the previous novel in the series, Small Talk, I just hadn’t got around to it — I’m going to work a little harder on that now.

If nothing else, read it for the recommendation on your new favorite version of “Over the Rainbow.” Wow.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my participation in the Book Tour.

—–

3.5 Stars

Robert Germaux Author Interview

Please tell us about One by One

 

This is a very frustrating case for Daniel and his squad. There are multiple victims who appear to have almost nothing in common, and although the killer leaves a “clue” at each crime scene, those clues likewise appear to be completely disconnected from each other. It’s only through hard work and determination that Daniel and his colleagues eventually realize that they need to change their focus in order to catch the killer.

 

Since One by One is your follow-up novel to Small Talk, what new character developments can readers expect from main character Daniel Hayes and his team?

 

We learn more about Daniel’s previous life as a professional athlete, and we meet a journalist who covered Daniel in that life, a man whose skills Daniel calls upon to assist the police in their hunt for the killer. In addition, we follow Daniel’s developing relationship with bookstore owner Lauren Cavanaugh.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the dual POV in Small Talk. I loved how you got inside the killer’s head. Can readers expect something similar in One by One?

 

In Small Talk, Daniel and his squad had an idea who their killer was fairly early on in the case. The problem they faced was proving their suspect was actually the killer. Thus, a major part of the plotline in that book involved the way Daniel and the killer interacted with each other, which is why I used the killer’s POV occasionally. In One by One, though, the squad has no idea who their killer is until near the end of the story, so the emphasis is on the hunt for that person as opposed to any interactions the killer has with Daniel.

 

Where do your story ideas come from?

 

Everywhere! It doesn’t take much to ignite a spark in my fertile imagination. Sometimes I have to do a lot of research, as was the case with both Small Talk and One by One, because to the best of my knowledge, my social circle has never included any serial killers. But in Leaving the LAW, a Jeremy Barnes novel I’ll be releasing in the future, I relied heavily on my experiences teaching in an inner-city Pittsburgh high school that the police called Gang Central.

 

What do you think makes a good suspenseful mystery?

 

The answer, in part, lies in your question. Suspense. I like to read books that keep me guessing. Along with that, I think readers have to be involved with the characters in a novel, to care about what happens to those characters, even the bad ones. I want the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose.

 

 

ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX

 

Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including “Hard Court.” Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write “The Backup Husband,” the plot line of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? After “The Backup Husband,” I wrote “Small Talk,” my first novel about Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. I then switched gears again with “Grammar Sex (and other stuff),” a book of humorous essays. Now I’m back with “One by One,” the second Daniel Hayes mystery, which will be released on June 1st. You can find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page.

In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as “Sports Night” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris.

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me on my website.

 

Q&A…with Jason Atkinson

The last part of our Book Tour Stop for Seven Threads: A Book of Short Stories is a Q&A with Jason Atkinson — thanks to Laura Fabiani for providing the questions, and Atkinson for the answers and time.

and hey, don’t forget the giveaway!

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?
A: The only parts I write on paper are the ideas and some structural parts of the stories. I see it like this…anyone can type something. But if you are willing to take the extra time to write it down and actually put some effort in, then maybe you are willing to use it in your story. And that’s exactly how it worked for me with this book. If I wrote it down and actually finished writing down the idea, then I knew I was “into” it enough to see how it would flow with the rest of the story already written.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A:I could answer this in a few ways, but to be specific, I would say writing in a more professional manner has come around in the past 2 years. I have been writing as a whole for much longer, but not until recently did I consider seriously making something of myself until a couple of years ago.
Q: Have you ever started writing and then just decided to throw it away?
A: Yes and no. I have begun stories and part way through realized that my heart isn’t in it, so I stop. I don’t throw it away though as I may find myself needing it again one day. But as mentioned, I certainly have found myself second guessing and just moving away from a story. If I have to force it work, then it’s probably not coming from me. I want pure, honest stories.
Q: Which story of the Seven is your favorite, and why?
A: The first story I wrote in this book is “The Gentle Man”, which coincidentally is also the first story you can read. This story was how the entire book got started in the first place, and was also the most interesting for me to write. If other readers out there are like me, they will read this story and find themselves immersed in a movie just like I was when I wrote it. I think that is a part of why writing is so enjoyable for me. I don’t just get to write the stories, but I also get to experience first hand what they look like in my imagination.
Q: What advice would you give budding writers?
A: To be a writer, you simply need to write. Worrying about quality in the beginning is pointless and a waste of valuable energy. Success comes in many forms, and yes, a paycheck is one of those although it is not the most important.

Success for writers comes when you personally feel satisfied with what you are and have done. It doesn’t matter the genre or how long something is. If you can stand by what you wrote and feel proud of finishing it – then you are successful.

Just sit down, and do it. You’ll be very happy when you complete your first piece. Even if after looking back you realize it might have been awful – that was your first step towards a better writer and storyteller. So what are you waiting for?