jump to navigation

Meet the author Monday: Giles Kristian October 11, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Historical.
add a comment

Hiya folks!

As promised, we have an interview with Debut Author Giles Kristian for your perusal. His upcoming novel, Raven, will be available from Amazon.com UK this month and is open for purchase in the US in October. He’s also multi-talented, and was the lead singer for the pop group Upside Down in the nineties. Anyway… without further ado, we have… the interview.

Vital Status:

Lives:  England
Webpage: Giles Kristian
Books: Raven: Blood Eye
Genres: Historical Fiction

From the mouth of the author:

1. What made you choose the Viking Era for your novel? What is it that you think will appeal to modern readers?

I chose the era because, being half Norwegian, I have always been fascinated by my own heritage. I admire these men, these Vikings, who dared to take open, clinker-built vessels across seas that even a modern day yachtsman with all his technology would not take lightly. I think modern readers will appreciate their hardiness and daring, their ambition and their skill. They lived and died on the edge, which is, I think, very exciting.

2. What is the strangest, most bizarre fact you learned about the Vikings in your research?

According to the early saga writers, the first man and woman came from the sweat of a giant’s armpit. Not a very glamorous beginning then, and hardly the Garden of Eden. We should be glad they had not invented antiperspirant back then!

3. What’s the one thing that you think modern readers should adopt from the Viking mode of living or code of Honor?

Perhaps one of the reasons why the Vikings were so dynamic is that they seem to have been fatalistic. My characters believe that the patterns of their lives have already largely been woven and so they live without fear. If you believe what will be will be, you can truly seize the day and live each one to its fullest. Of course, you might also take terrible risks that become your undoing!

4. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

When you’re writing historical fiction it can be hard to know when to stop reading (as in research material) and when to get on with the writing. Other than that, I get distracted by anything from the washing and the gym, to Facebook and emails. I like getting distracted. I wander what’s for dinner. Oh look, there’s a bird. Ahem, so…er…where was I?

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

We have a family cottage in the Norwegian fjords and being there brings me as close to the world I write about as it’s possible to be. I will buy a leg of cured lamb and cut slices from it to munch on during the day, knowing that the Vikings would have enjoyed the very same taste. Catching a nice fish in the fjord and eating it for dinner also sets the scene. However, I draw the line at sheep’s head and the rotten sharks the Icelandic Vikings used to eat.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

I think good villains are the ones that have something about them that makes you think they might actually have a sense of honour and morality. You think they might show mercy this time. Then, of course, when it really comes down to it they don’t! Few people are inherently bad, but villains consistently do ‘bad’ things. I think it’s important to show they are multi faceted just like any person. Knowing what I am capable of writing, I have never scared myself, but I have scared my mother. She was the first to read RAVEN and when she had finished she texted me calling me a ‘filthy heathen savage.’ I took it as a compliment of course.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Raven himself is the hardest to write. The first person narrative means I can never tell the reader what any other character is feeling or thinking. Everything has to come to the reader via Raven and this can be exhausting to write. Also, I try to get outside of my own skin, as I don’t want Raven to think and feel exactly as I would. Having said this, I’m sure I’m in there somewhere.

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

There was a scene in the first draft of RAVEN Blood-Eye where Raven finds a cave in a forest and explores it with Asgot the wizard and Sigurd their jarl. In this cave there is a pool into which the three men peer. Strangely however, Raven cannot see his own reflection. It was quite a spiritual scene but my agent thought I should cut it. Highlighting and then deleting that whole scene felt terrible, although I think I still have a version of the manuscript with it in.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

For some reason I almost always finish my day’s writing half way through a sentence. Then the next day I wonder what I was going to write. It really is

10.   If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

I think Bernard Cornwell is a masterly storyteller. His historical novels seethe with excitement, but never get bogged down in historical detail, despite being superbly researched. Also, I’d like to get inside Stephen King’s mind, though I wouldn’t want to stay for long.

From the mouth of Sigurd:

1.   What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other characters to survive when shanghaid by violent warriors?

Shieldwall! If we suddenly find ourselves under attack I will yell ‘shieldwall!’ and my men will rally, overlapping their shields in front and above to create a ‘hutch’ that is proof against missile weapons. Then, when the time is right, we will raise my wolf’s head banner and advance together with swords, thrusting spears and axes. You will see my enemies quake with fear.

2. What is the best way to vanquish your enemies?

The best way is to burn your enemy’s hall with him and all his men asleep inside it. Once you have killed his drunk sentries it is just a question of starting a good fire and guarding the doors with archers and spearmen. In this way you can kill thirty men and lose not one.

3. Describe your feelings on loyalty and brotherhood? What lengths should a man go to for his brothers?

A man should be happy to go to Valhöll, Óðin’s hall of the slain, for his swordbrothers. If you cannot rely on the man beside you in the shieldwall you are all doomed. If you die a good death you will see your friends again in Valhöll. You will drink again with your father and your father’s father. Who does not want this? But a coward will wander the darkness forever.

4. Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

When I die I will have woven a tale worthy of remembrance. Men will talk of Sigurd’s Fellowship around their hearth fires for many years to come. Young men jealous of our renown will make their own fellowships and take to their dragonships in search of glory and fame. When I die it will be no straw death. It will be by the blade and with my own sword in my hand. That way Óðin’s death maidens will know that I am Sigurd of the Wolfpack and they will prepare my seat in the great meadhall, Valhöll. This will be my end.

5.   Do you believe in any Gods or religion? Magic artifacts? Religious relics of power?

There are objects of power. I have seen those followers of the White Christ waving their crosses in the heat of battle. I have seen men display the heads of defeated enemies at their gates. I have known a man with a bear’s head tattoo who believed that this seidr gave him the bear’s strength and spirit. I have seen hundreds slaughtered over a gospel book. If a man believes in something, be it a god or a book or a lump of wood, then that thing is a powerful thing indeed.

Advertisements

Meet the author Monday: Marie Brennan October 4, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
add a comment

*snuggles into the blankie she won at the family party*  Happy Holidays boys and girls.  I hope your houses are having as much fun as mine.  I’m swamped with children, a sick husband and more dirty dishes than I can count.  Oh well…  :)

Getting on to cooler stuff.  Marie Brennan is our last author interview for December and what a fun ride to talk to her.  She’s been on my TBR list for Midnight Never Come since it came out and I’m already a fan of the Warrior and Witch books.  I’m hoping I’ll get to it here in the next couple weeks.

Housekeeping:  this is the last day to comment to go into the end of the month drawing.  A gift card to Barnes and Noble and a book from one of our December authors of your choice is on the line!

Now our author:
Marie Brennan
Webpage: Swan Tower
Books: Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie (2009)
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

How would you classify your fantasy? (For example, epic, historical, classic, re-told fairy tale, low fantasy… etc.)
The series I’m writing at present is historical fantasy, set in London at different points in time.  The first book, Midnight Never Come, takes place in the Elizabethan period; its sequel In Ashes Lie covers the Civil War the following century.  My first two novels, however, are more middle-of-the-genre adventure fantasy.

From the mouth of the author:
What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

I really don’t like Destiny.  Except in the hands of *extremely* good authors, it tends to render the protagonist’s choices less meaningful; I’d rather read about a character who *decides* to step up to the plate and solve a problem, instead of one who’s been fated from birth to do so.  The motif can work if you use it to explore questions of free will and the like, but too many authors use it as a convenient jump-starter for their plot, to explain why this random nobody is so special they’re going to save the world.

What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why?  No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.
I’m a pretty big fan of faeries, which I *do* write about.  They tie in well with my folklore background, and because “faerie” is a pretty broad category, there’s a wide variety of things you can do with them in a story.

We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?
The Internet, easily.  It contains infinite distractions, many of which update regularly, so that it’s easy to decide I need to check and see if any of them have posted new content.

With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?
Curling up in the armchair and reading. :-) I grew up in Dallas, so things like ice-skating or snowball fights were a rarity, and being outside in the cold is not something I particularly enjoy.

I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?
Not really.  I try not to snack too much while working, though sometimes I’ll have a bowl of trail mix on my desk that I can munch from.

What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?
I very rarely write villains, as it happens.  My plots more often involve antagonists: people who are genuinely trying to do what they believe is the right thing, but their “right thing” lies at cross-purposes to the protagonist.  I find that produces a richer conflict, because the opposition isn’t as clear-cut right-and-wrong — and it usually means the protagonist can’t take the easy way out of their problems by killing the bad guy.

Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Tiresias, the mad seer in Midnight Never Come.  He isn’t the actual Greek Tiresias — he’s just named that because of his prophetic gift — but man, writing a crazy person is *hard*.  Making somebody wacky and random?  Easy.  But creating a compelling madness, something that seems to have its own logic and contains buried fragments of truth . . . that’s much, much more difficult.  The book contains five interludes from his point of view, and I think it’s fair to say they were one of the hardest parts to write.

We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

Hmmmm.  I don’t tend so much to fall in love with specific lines; more often it’s a scene I don’t want to cut.  There’s an outtake from the first act of Midnight Never Come that had Deven, one of the protagonists, interacting with Queen Elizabeth, which I really enjoyed because it showed a side of her that didn’t come through anywhere else in the novel.  She loved to ride very fast, and as one of her bodyguards Deven has to keep up with her, so it’s this scene where she’s playing a little game by trying to outrace him, and he gets to see a side of her that’s more the woman Elizabeth, instead of the Virgin Queen.

What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?
Not so much that I tell myself I *will* change it as I wish I *could*: writing late at night.  My best working hours start at about 10 p.m. and go until about 3 a.m.; I kind of wish I operated better on a more normal schedule.

If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?
I’d probably have to choose Diana Wynne Jones, though I fear my attempts to pick her brain would degenerate into aimless fangirl babbling.  If I had to point to one author who’s responsible for me being a writer today, it would be her.

From the mouth Lune, the faerie protagonist of Midnight Never Come, which is why her responses sound a little archaic.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?
Never cease thinking.  If your author is like mine, the trials you face will require you to solve the riddle or learn the history or find the solution no one expects.  Brute force will only rarely avail you.

How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?
For those of us whose nature is magical, they are as commonplace as breathing — but their power is limited.  While I might wish to be a great enchantress, I suspect it would not rescue me from the need for quick thinking.

What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

With aid.  ‘Tis a rare hero who knows all and can do all, without another to guard his back.

Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?
Mortals may love until they die.  Faeries may love — until the one they love dies.  The grief that follows lasts forever.

Magic artifacts? Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…
All of that and more.  But my greatest protection has come from the most ordinary of things: mortal bread.  Use lies in everything, if you can but find it.

Thanks so much to Marie and Lune!

Meet the author Monday:Patricia Wrede September 27, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview.
add a comment
Hello dedicated readers! Is it cold outside? I hope everyone can sit down with a warm blanket, a cup of something hot and comforting, and enjoy the rest of your holiday. Today’s interview is with Patricia Wrede, author of 4 fantasy series and over 19 books. She’s well known for her middle grade and young adult writing, and in 1994 she was a finalist for the Mythopoetic children’s fiction award along with such young adult classics as The Mystery of the Cupboard and The Giver. Her website doesn’t have a picture, alas, however you can read her interview here.

Lives:  Minnesota.
Webpage:
Patricia Wrede
Books
: Enchanted Forest Series, Lyra Set: Shadows over Lyra (Collection), Caught in Crystal, The Raven RingShadow MagicDaughter of WitchesThe Harp of Imach Thyssel, Mairelon Series: Magic and Malice (Collection), Mairelon the Magician , The Magician’s Ward, Sorcery and Cecelia series: Sorcery and Cecelia, The Grand TourThe Mislaid Magician or Ten Years AfterThe Seven Towers, Snow White and Rose Red
Genres
: Fantasy (Rewritten Fairy Tales, Regency, Young Adult), Science Fiction (Star Wars)

From the mouth of the author:

1.      What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

Idiot plots. That’s the sort of plot where everyone has to be an idiot in order to get it to work. Where nobody ever says “You know, walking through a dark alley in the worst part of town at midnight is probably not a terribly good idea; why don’t we just call a cab?” because then the characters wouldn’t get mugged and set the plot going, or “Hold off an army of orcs all by myself? Are you nuts?” or “Now, why would I believe for half a minute that marrying a king who is known to be a vicious, manipulative liar will bring permanent peace to our warring countries? Especially since he’s already broken our last three treaties and murdered my parents and siblings into the bargain?” I really, really dislike characters who are supposed to be intelligent but who keep making stupid mistakes. (Characters who are supposed to be stupid are a different matter; they’re tricky to pull off, though.)

A related problem, especially with fantasy, is the idiot background. By that I mean the setting or history that just doesn’t hang together if you stop and look at it straight on, because the author hasn’t thought through all the implications. Like all the pre-industrial fantasy societies that have modern 21st century attitudes toward sex…with no reliable birth control anywhere in sight. And none of the female characters ever get pregnant, and none of the male characters who’ve been tomcatting around are ever presented with children. Or the stories in which there are no schools to speak of and the nobles all have private tutors, yet all the peasants and guards seem to be literate. Or the ones in which everyone uses swords and rides horses and all the technology seems to be at about that same level, except for the inexplicable presence of indoor plumbing, complete with hot showers. If you’ve got indoor hot showers, you’ve got boilers and metal-working technology for pipe-making and ceramic or glassworking technology and something to pump the water from the heater to the shower and valve technology for turning the water on and off…and all of that should be applied to a whole heck of a lot of other things besides just plumbing. Not to mention the side effects of having indoor plumbing even without the hot showers – you just know that all those anachronistic toilets are not dumping their waste into a period open sewer in the middle of the street.

2.       What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why?  No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

I’m very fond of spunky princesses like the Paper Bag Princess, who don’t sit around waiting for other people to fix things and who are perfectly willing to call the stuck-up prince on his bad manners if that becomes necessary. I doubt that this will come as a big surprise to anyone who’s read my books, though.

3.       We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

I have to pick just one? OK, I suppose computer games. The Civilization series and the Elder Scrolls series are currently top of the list for that. I can waste weeks if  I’m not careful.

4.       With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

Curling up by the fireplace with a good book comes instantly to mind.

5.       I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

When I’m seriously working, I tend to get hyperfocused, and will not even notice a plate of chocolate chip cookies even if someone shoves them under my nose. When I’m merely thinking about working, or worse yet, avoiding working, anything remotely edible is fair game.

6.       What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

Define “really good villain.” For some people, that means a realistic, complex character doing things for believable reasons; for others, it means someone or something so truly evil that they’re completely unsympathetic, so that the reader can enjoy watching the villain get shredded and feel that he’s go tten his just deserts. Me, I’d say that what you need for a really good villain is one that suits the story you are telling. A realistic, complex, multifaceted person who’s doing the wrong things for the right reasons would not have been the right choice for Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings;” or even Sauruman. Either the story would have fallen apart, or it would have turned into a completely different story. A simple, purely evil character would be totally wrong for George R.R. Martin’s “A Clash of Kings” – again, either the book falls apart, or it has to morph into a totally different story.

So I guess I’d say that to do a really good villain, you have to be willing to let the villain be what the story needs him/her to be, rather than any one fixed type.

I don’t think I’ve ever used one of my villains as a viewpoint character, which I think is what it would take to come up with something nasty enough to scare me in the way you’re asking about. I’ve read enough history to know that whatever atrocities I can dream up are paltry, compared to what’s actually happened.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

As a character, probably the one I’m working on now, Eff Rothmer. Most of my main characters have needed to get things done, but Eff needs to do a lot of growing into herself as well. She doesn’t start out with as much self-confidence as most of my heroines have, and I’ve had some trouble keeping the balance right. Plus, I find her universe utterly fascinating—she lives in a world where the New World is full of magical and post-Ice-Age creatures, which is making the settlement of the Western U.S. go a bit differently from the way it went in our world, and I keep getting sidetracked into backstory and alternate history and ecology.

8.       We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

I don’t tend to remember things for very long once I’ve cut them, because the reason I cut them is that they don’t belong in the book. I’ve always been focused more on story than on style, which means I seldom have the sort of “murdered darlings” that most people think of when they hear this line (the quote “murder your darlings” is originally from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, and pre-dates Stephen King by quite a lot of decades, by the way. It’s been re-quoted so often by so many people that it’s frequently mis-attributed).

What I do have are plans for the plot that don’t come off. Probably the most spectacular of those was when I was writing “The Raven Ring.” My heroine and two companions were supposed to be leaving town for a long, adventurous trip home, and on the way out, they were supposed to be attacked by the bad guys. So that happened, they beat off the attack, and then the one character says, “Let’s get out of here.” And the young nobleman who’s the other companion stares blankly and says, “Why?” And by the time they got that sorted out, the cops had shown up and I had to spend four unanticipated chapters dealing with them. Once I finally did, the head guard said basically, “OK, you’re free to head home now.” And my heroine looked at h im and said, in essence, “Do you think I’m crazy? That attack was planned. I’m in a city with a nice, competent police force that knows me and knows somebody is out to get me, and you expect me to leave? Not til we catch those creeps, or at least find out a lot more about what they’re up to!” Which pretty much shot the entire plan for the rest of the book. I finally got her heading for the city gates at last…on the last page of the novel. Not at all what I’d expected.

It’s not exactly a “murdered darling” because none of it ever got written, so it didn’t actually have to be cut/murdered. But it feels the same. And I do kind of regret missing out on the camping scene I had in mind, where they all argue about cooking. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have had the fortune-telling scene with the picture cards (that world’s version of the Tarot) if things had gone the way I planned. It evens out.

9.       What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

Procrastinating. But I really will get around to stopping it. One of these days.

10.   If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

Megan Whelan Turner. I want to know how she does that thing in “The King of Attolia” where she leaves out all these scenes and all this information that you’d swear was critical to the plot or the characterization or both, and it works anyway. And it makes you feel smart because you got it without her telling you outright. (It’s the third book in a sequence, and I highly recommend it, but if you don’t want serious spoilers, you need to read the first two first. They’re both good, but the third one is brilliant. I think, anyway.)

From the mouth of Amberglas, from The Seven Towers (which will be back in print from Firebird Books soon—Spring 2009).
1.   What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?

Well, that would depend on the character, wouldn’t it? And on the troubles and tribulations. So many things that one person thinks are troublesome aren’t any trouble at all for someone else. Breaking into the king’s treasury, for instance, which is a great deal of trouble for the king and his guards, and quite a bit of trouble for the person who’s breaking in, but no trouble at all for the shoemaker down the street. Unless of course the king has the shoemaker locked in the treasury vault for some reason. Some kings do things like that. And then there are things that nearly everyone finds troublesome, like having an army invade, or being turned into a loathly worm, or washing socks. Advising people to use warm water so they won’t shrink is quite the best thing for washing socks, but not at all useful for invading armies or loathly worms, or even invading armies of loathly worms. Under most circumstances, anyway. I believe one of the Imperial Wizards tried to shrink an invading army with hot water once, but I’m afraid it didn’t work very well , which just shows you.

2.    How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?

Which sort of magic powers? I believe I could dispense quite well with Black Sorcery, though of course if I happened to be a Black Sorcerer, which I am not, I would almost certainly feel very differently. And there are so many different ways to do things, though some of them are really more trouble than they’re worth. One could chop down a tree with a nail file, but an ax is so much more convenient. That is, if one happens to have an ax; if the only thing handy is a nail file, one does what one can. Spells and magic are exactly the same. Only different.

3.       What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

Not underestimating them, which is quite easy to do, even though people are warned about it all the time. Listening seems to be so very difficult for such a lot of peop le, even when it’s an important warning that they ought to be listening to, except of course just when you’d prefer they didn’t, such as when you’re planning a surprise birthday party, or plotting an assassination, or talking to your houseplants. At least, a good many people seem to find it embarrassing to be caught talking to their houseplants, though I’ve never really understood why. Mine are quite sensible conversationalists, much better than most of the kings and princes I’ve met. And there are always shoelaces. Tying someone’s shoelaces together frequently works very well, though of course very few dragons actually wear shoes.

4.       Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

Ever after is such a long time, except when it isn’t. Such as when one gets run over by a delivery wagon unexpectedly—not that one ever really expects to be run over by a delivery wagon, but it’s the principle of the thing. And you know, one never actually gets to the horizon. At least, by the time one does, it’s somewhere else. So I’m afraid I don’t pay very much attention to either one. Being happy right now is quite enough work for any sensible person, especially since now is never the same, either, and so difficult to get to come out the way one would like, what with wizard-kings interfering, and ancient sorceries getting in the way, and the weather always being quite wrong. Snow when one wants to have a picnic, and rain when it’s been flooding, and wind when one has just that minute finished dusting.

5.   Magic artifacts? (You know what I mean, enchanted swords, books of spells…) Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…

Definitely more trouble than they’re worth, if you’re on the receiving end. Assuming, of course, that the wizard who made whatever-it-is did a reasonably competent job—so many of them want to make a sort of magical Swiss Army Knife, and end up with a magic staff that shoots lightning bolts , makes the wielder invulnerable, and does dishes, but only shoots the lightning at turnips, makes the wielder invulnerable to straw arrows, and does only the very best Dangil china dishes, which is quite useless, really, because if you are wealthy enough to own the very best Dangil china dishes, you generally pay to have someone else wash them for you. And then they’re horribly disappointed and go around blowing up turnips just for spite, even though if you think about it, a magic staff that does any sort of dishes is really quite an unusual accomplishment and something one ought to be proud of.

Meet the author Monday: Chad Corrie September 20, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Historical.
add a comment

Welcome to our next interview. <<Snipped, out of date>>

~K

Vital Status:

Lives:  Minnsota.
Webpage: ChadCorrie
Books: Divine Gambit Trilogy, Tales of Tralodren, The Adventures of Corwyn
Genres: Fantasy

From the mouth of the author:

1.      What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

You now, I don’t know if there really is a fantasy cliché that bothers me too much.  I tend to subscribe to the notion that “there isn’t anything new under the sun” when it comes to stories.  It’s really just how they are packaged and dressed up a bit that is the difference.  You can’t really get away from all of the clichés even if you wanted to.

The thing that does tend to make me chuckle when I see it is the authors who jump on the bandwagon of a trend and try to grab ahold of its coat tails.  I don’t blame them for wanting to try and work the system to their advantage, but if you’re just writing a book to try and get into a lucriative niche rather than trying to tell a good story then you might be missing the mark when it comes to being an author… at least how I see it.

Then again, if you do get a ton of cash for crafting a tale in the same vein/flavor of what’s hot right now you might not see the down side to what I just said.

And this isn’t to say that what is produced in these trend niches is entirely bad either.  As any author will tell you how their work is perceived is a relative thing when it comes to the reader’s eyes.  If enough people thing your work is great and are willing to pay you to keep coming up with more than I guess you’re doing well.  Even if I get a kick out of the mentality to “hurry up and jump on this trend” in many niches that, in my mind, are getting a bit too glutted now and need a bit of refining, there is still money to made and people who, more often than not, will purchase and enjoy the published work.

2.       What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why?  No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

I’ve always liked dragons, but then again, who hasn’t in this line of literature.  I also like griffins and many of the creatures found in classical mythology.  But if I had to pick a favorite type of fantasy character I think it would be the fractured hero.

When I started writing my first book, Seer’s Quest, I decided that I wanted to do something with the heroes to make them more clay-footed than some I’d read up to that point in my life.  I was coming out of the Conan and D&D type of novels and mindset where the heroes were brave and bold and often one or two-dimensional and just did things because they had to – as if they had a requirement in their contract that forced them to do these heroic deeds.

Now while these are all well and good in their own right for the stories in which they occur, I didn’t want to do the same for my work.  There was a chain of thought going around at the time as well that went something like “DC Comics characters are just plain old heroes-guys who get a power and then slap on tights and start fighting crime just cause they are heroes.  Marvel characters are clay-footed and are more ‘human’ in their motives-more complicated.”

Well, that saying has been reversed from time to time as the companies have both worked to redefine their worlds and characters but I took that thought to my own heroes and made them more complicated-more complex on the simple to even the most detailed of matters related to them.  This, I believe, has helped make some interesting characters and stories.  And this is why I tend to think of them as my favorite type of fantasy critter/character

3.  We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

When I write it’s not really a challenge to get the idea or to put it down but to keep a disciplined practice of getting it put down on the computer instead.  I tend to leave my email on while I work and every once in a while an email will pop up and then I check it out and get distracted at times by that.  And then there is the internet which I sometimes used for a little reference work or research for one item and I tend to get and go a little farther than I should and find I spent more time than I should on that.  Then you have the phone and other odds and ends that tend to crop up and pop up every so often too.

So that is what gets me for right now when and if I let it. But if keep myself focused I can keep myself chugging away until I complete what I have to do for that day writing wise.  It’s just a matter of focus.

4.  With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

You’re talking to a guy who lives in Minnesota, the land of snow and fun.  We’re the folks who like to go taking dips in frozen lakes for some odd reason and find all sorts of odd excuses to get out in below zero weather for some sort of fun.

That being said, I don’t know if I have any real favorite activity for the season.  When it gets cold and snows I tend to not want to go out all that often to do a whole lot of anything other than shovel.

5.  I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

Nope.

I just have my mug of water and that’s it.  I try not to spend all day at my computer.  I try to keep set hours for my computer use and stick to them as best I am able. I think it’s important to get away from the computer and let my mind and eyes rest and actually get some exersice that doesn’t just benefit my fingers.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

I’ll tell you want amazes me most is when I go back and read what I wrote and wonder if that came from the same person.  For me there is a sort of odd disconnect as an author.  You know you wrote it when you are writing it but once it is done you go back and it somehow feels different, like it was written by someone else and you’re looking at it from a different place.  Maybe that’s just me and my possible oddity in relating to my work.

To answer your question, however, I don’t know that I’ve been scared by a villain that finds his or her or its way into the story.  From my standpoint I’m in the director’s chair of the tale and sort of know where most of the tale is going to fall before I get started. I see the end of the tale from the beginning and know this and that about the story and don’t really get frightened by what crops up in the process.  I guess it also has to do with the fact that I understand what I’m doing isn’t real and that all these “acts of evil” and so and so forth aren’t real either.  Now if I read something not written by me with a nice baddie in it that could be a different story.

What does it take to make a great villain?  Motivation is a key issue.  Why are they doing what they are doing?  Now in fantasy you can sometimes get away with the classic “I’m just evil and I do evil things because I live for it” type of mindset.  If used in the right way it can work pretty well even in the world of gray people like to live in now days.  There is still a market for the classic “good vs. evil” story.  However, it has to be done in the right way or you lose the full impact of such a mindset.  Imagine it.  The villain knows he is evil and just likes to do evil things.  There are some serial murders like that, who have said, “I’m evil and I know it and just want to kill people.”  So there is a villain out there like that and it can work, but again if used in the right way and in the right story.

Motivation, however, is key for villains favored by most of today’s readers.  In a world where everyone now has some sort of “victim mentality” with which they have to contend we have villains who have “abandonment issues” or this mental disorder or that.  They are painted as sympathetic characters who can’t help themselves and might even be able to be turned to do good if someone just “helped them through their pain/challenge”.  If only someone would understand them.  I’m not a big fan of this in my own writing, as I tend to shy away from what I think of as “whiny characters”.  Though again, if used in the right context it could work very well and I have read books there that is the case.

The best villains, ideally, are ones who really push a button with you.  They are not victims of something that warps them for life (though that can help add some resonance at times if done right) but rather are people who think they are doing the right thing but don’t see it is the wrong thing.  In their own mind they are the good guys and everyone else is on the wrong side.  These, to me, are the best villains because you can relate to them on a more practical level and see the reasoning behind their logic (and might even agree with it) but you don’t like the means by which they try to justify their end.

Again, this is an interesting and nebulous topic in this graying world we live in as we see more and more villains becoming anti-heroes and the line between hero and villain getting more and more blurred.  And then there is the reader’s disposition and how they see the story from their own unique moral worldview…. but I digress.

7.       Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

In this current book, The Adventures of Corwyn, there weren’t any hard characters to write.  Now in some of my other novels and graphic novels I’ve had to wrestle around a bit with things but for The Adventures of Corwyn it was pretty easy going.  Given that there weren’t that many characters in this short story collection other than Corwyn (who I got along with very well) it probably made things easier as well.

8.       We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

Stephen King advising us to kill something?  I can’t imagine that.  When I write now I’ve learned to look at it is a crafting a sculpture.  You have to clear away the excess to get to the image beneath.  So there is going to be some things that get cleared away and should be.  Often times this is done by the aid of an editor who can see things from a more objective viewpoint and help make your work all the better for it.

That being said, I don’t really honestly recall what has gone by the way side in the process of completing my works any more so than the artist would consider the bits of saw dust or marble chunks chipped off from the final image hidden beneath the now fallen debris.

9.  What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

Besides checking my email or answering the phone?

I think many authors struggle with coming to a point of knowing when it’s time to let the book go.  I used to keep wanting to go back and tweak and twist and polish and so on but in the end you can’t do that forever.  There has to come a point where you say “this is it” and then let it go.  I’ve gotten much better at that but sometimes I’ll be tempted to give it “just one more look over” before turning it off to the publisher for the final layout.

10.   If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

You know, that’s an interesting question.  I don’t really know if there is a certain author I’d like to chat with.  However, I do think talking with other authors in general is very insightful as there can often be a nugget you can pull out of the conversation that will benefit you later on.

From the mouth of Corwyn Danther (The Adventures of Corwyn):

1.   What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?

You tend to get what you expect; look for the best in all things and you will tend to get it.  You might not be able to get out of the situation, but you should he able to weather it better than most if you keep your wits about you and your expectation of a good outcome close to the forefront of your mind.

2.    How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?

Magic can be a boon, I suppose, but when is there a wizard around with you might need one, eh?  Making someone lazy?  Well there was that whole mess with Wizard Kings a few centuries ago… if anything magic can make one more arrogant than lazy… though that is often a symptom which follows as well.

As far as me wanting any magical spells or powers or trinkets I’d have to decline.  As I’ve said already, such things tend to be more trouble than they are worth. A recent encounter with two Sellswords and their circlet comes to mind to help make my point… but that’s another story.

3.  What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

Outsmart them.

If you have to face them, and thankfully I haven’t had to deal with so great a list as what you posted above as opponents myself, then you’d best find a way to use what you have against them.  Often times you’ll find such creatures give you a way to either defeat them or flee.  Sometimes its smarter to just leave while you can as well, and often will save more lives than pressing in for a hard fight ever will.

4.  Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

I’d like to think there is, either in this life or the next.  Causilla is the goddess of love after all, and I’m a faithful follower.  I’d like to think my future wife is out there somewhere and if she is we’ll find each other eventually.

Now wouldn’t that be a tale?

5.   Magic artifacts? (You know what I mean, enchanted swords, books of spells…) Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…

Magic artifacts?  Hmm.  Well you probably don’t want to mention that to Fred, he’s still upset about those ruins we found a while back… and those two sellswords I mentioned earlier come to mind again…

Magical trinkets and artifacts tend to be confusing if you ask me.  People are often searching for things that they have no idea what they do or even if they are real in the first place.  In most causes things often tend to go down a bad road and take those who seek after them with them.

Meet the author Monday: Peter V. Brett September 13, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
add a comment

Greetings from the frozen mountains of the Rockies.  It’s snowing hard outside and I’m trying to make it all the way through the work day with the hope of getting home without dying on icy roads!  However, I’m happy to have a White Christmas, so I can’t complain too much.

Santa has been good to us here at Reality By Pass and we have more Author Interviews than we do remaining Fridays!  To this end there will be at least two author interviews a week for the rest of December.  Remember that there will be a drawing for books at the end of the month.  Ask a question, comment on the state of the weather…just let us know you’re out there to win!

Nooow…onto today’s interview with Petter V Brett.

Vital Status:

Lives:  Somewhere in the US.
WebpagePeter V Brett
Books: The Warded Man (March 2009)
Genres: Fantasy

From the mouth of the author:

What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

Oh, there are so many. I guess the standard fantasy story arc/climax gets to me the most. Basically, this is where the main character discovers they are the heir to a magic they did nothing to earn, don’t understand, and are afraid/unable to use. They muddle through the book with no control over this special power until the last possible minute when all seems lost, at which point,  for no real reason other than plot resolution, they manage to bend the magic to their will just long enough to defeat the villain, who is usually a  life-long master of the same magic, because “good” magic, as everybody knows, is stronger than “bad” magic, and the hero always has the strongest magic of all. Of course, when the sequel rolls around, they are back to not understanding their power. Lather, rinse, repeat.

A lot of amazing fantasy authors, including many bestsellers, have used this story skeleton through the years, some to great effect, but it’s begun to stick in my craw because I think that with a very few exceptions, it makes for an unsatisfying climax. The author builds enormous tension getting the protagonist into an inescapable fix, and then  kind of cheats to get them out. Victories in real life don’t happen that way, and I am a big believer that even fantasy fiction should mirror reality as much as possible, so that readers can relate to it.

What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why?  No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

Unicorns. Totally.

Okay, I’m lying. Screw unicorns. Actually, my favorite fantasy critters are the ones I write about. Demons.

I always loved demons, even back when I was a little kid playing Dungeons and Dragons. I memorized all the demon types in the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio, and looked for any excuse to use them in a game. Did you know the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring was a Type VI demon called a Balor? Those things are no joke. Makes you really respect Gandalf. The real D&D demon you didn’t want to fuck with, though, was the Demogorgon. That thing was a two-headed psionic supra-genius with a -8 armor class and 200 hit points. D&D also made a point of distinguishing demons from devils, which I think is important.

There were also these evil demons called the N’gari that fought the X-men in the early 80’s. There was a special Christmas issue of the X-men (Uncanny #143, I think) where a demon chases Kitty Pryde all over the X-mansion. That comic scared the crap out of me when I was a kid; I must have read it a thousand times. From there I went on to read lots of demon-centric fantasy novels like Terry Brooks’ Elfstones of Shannara, Lyndon Hardy’s Master of the Five Magics, and… heck, just about any of the many works of RA Salvatore or CS Friedman.

You get my point. I was always hunting demon stories, and it was great to finally take a crack at writing them myself.

We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

Same as everyone these days, I reckon. The internet. It’s probably why I usually get more writing done on my smartphone riding the subway for an hour than I can all day on my home computer with its seductive high-speed web connection. That said, it’s just as easy for me to get distracted by sorting my socks.

Distraction is a real problem for me, and I think for anyone who wants to be a writer. Stephen Pressfield calls it “Resistance” in his book The War of Art. The fact is, unless you have the muse sitting right on your shoulder (which is a rare and undependable thing), writing, at least, writing well, is a lot harder than it looks. It can be such a trial sometimes that to a struggling author, the thought of climbing an icy ladder to clear leaves from the roof rain gutter starts to sound more enticing that sitting by the computer with a hot cuppa. I truly believe that training yourself to focus and produce work consistently when you’re blocked or tired or not in the mood is what separates pro writers, even hackish ones, from talented amateurs.

I wish I was better at it, myself.

With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

My family used to have a ski house at Hunter Mountain in New York, and we would go skiing a few times every winter. Sometimes my dad would even pull us out of school on a Friday to take advantage of a day without weekend crowds. Those were the days!

Now that I live in Brooklyn and am married to a non-skier, I don’t get to go as often as I used to, but my father and sister and I still try to go once every winter if we can.

I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

Ugh. Prepare to be sickened. I like to eat Nerds Rope, which is this Willy Wonka candy where they essentially take a long Gummi Worm and stick Nerds candies to it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, be thankful. It is somehow several times as sugary as pure sugar.

I also mix iced coffee with Diet Coke when I am working late and want a caffeine boost. Don’t knock it until you’ve let it keep you up till 4am. Red Bull is for sissies.

What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

I don’t really write about villains, because I’m not convinced they exist in the classical sense. No one sees themselves as a villain, that is just a label from the person on the other side of the conflict. In real life, people find all sorts of ways to justify the evil things they do. I try to be impartial as an author, and just describe conflict and motive and let the reader decide who’s right and who’s wrong.

That said, there are several characters I’ve written that scare the crap out of me, especially Jardir’s wife, Inevera, who makes her first appearance in my nearly-completed sequel to The Warded Man, titled The Desert Spear. I have nightmares about her.

Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Probably the Warded Man. My main protagonists, Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer, all have clear voices in my head, but the Warded Man is an entity unto himself, and a being of constant internal conflict. It’s a difficult head to get into sometimes.

We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

I have many murdered darlings. The version of The Warded Man I originally sold to Del Rey books was 182,000 words. The final draft I released to print was a sleek 158,000. I had reasons for everything I cut, usually pacing or redundancy, and the end-product was better for it, but some really great (in my opinion, anyway) material was lost in the process. So much, in fact, that I am planning to add a “deleted scenes” blog to my website to reveal some of those delicious tibbits to anyone interested in the writing process, or who just wants a little fix before the sequel comes out.

What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

Overwriting. I always write more than I need to. Like this answer. I could have just said “Overwriting” and been done with it, but was that good enough for me? Noooooo.

If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

CS Friedman or George RR Martin. Both have an amazing ability to keep an incredibly complex set of POV characters and story arcs straight and still tell a cohesive story.

From the mouth of the Warded Man:

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?

Stop being afraid to stand up for yourself. You can’t count on someone else coming along to do it for you.

How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?

No one gave me my magic. I earned it, paid for in blood and scars, and now I walk free in the night when others cower behind their wards. But magic’s nothing compared to the will to stand up and defend what’s yours when the demons come to take it.

What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

Ent no such thing.

Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

Gave up my chances for happiness long ago. I spend more time amongst demons than I do men now. I’ve eaten their flesh and stolen their magic. No woman in her right mind would want me, or the spawn of my tainted blood.

Magic artifacts? (You know what I mean, enchanted swords, books of spells…) Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…

Weapons can be lost. They can be broken. They can be stolen. Make your own body a weapon, though, and nothing can take it from you, or catch you unarmed.

Meet the author Monday: Juliet Marillier September 6, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
add a comment

Welcome to another author interview! Today we’re featuring Juliet Marillier, author of 11 novels currently in print, and hopefully author of 11 or 12… or 50 more! (*nudge nudge*). Juliet’s latest book Heir to Sevenwaters is newly published here in the US and in Australia, and would make a lovely Christmas Present if you’re still looking for gifts. Her novels have a beautifully flowing prose, engaging protagonists, romantic heroes and beautiful imagery. She richly deserves her many awards, most recently the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Young Adult Novels. (Cybele’s Secret).

Don’t forget to post comments! There are prizes to be won.
Enough from me…. on to the interview! (~K)

Lives: Perth, Western Australia
Webpage: Juliet Marillier
Books
: The Sevenwaters Trilogy, The Bridei Chronicals, Wolfskin, Foxmask, Wildwood Dancing, Cybele’s Secret, Heir to Sevenwaters
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Celtic Fantasy

From the mouth of the author:

1. What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

My number one book pet-peeve is head-hopping – constant changes of point of view within one scene. It’s still pretty common in fantasy writing and distances the reader from the main protagonists. My number two pet peeve is writers using ‘lay’ when they mean ‘lie’, and editors who don’t correct it.

2. What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why? No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

The non-human characters in my books would be deeply offended if I ever referred to them as critters. They’d prefer to be considered somewhat similar to humans, but superior in all ways that matter. Most of them come from mythology or folklore, but I take quite a few liberties with them. I had a lot of fun with the Irish mythological race of Fomhoire in the Sevenwaters books, especially HEIR TO SEVENWATERS – they have become distinct individuals now with personal quirks. Their strongest skill is being able to blend with the surrounding landscape, whether it be water, stone, foliage or whatever. This has ensured their survival over many generations.

3. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble. What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

My two dogs, a Miniature Pinscher and a Maltese / Bichon cross. They are always up for more cuddles, snacks or walkies, so it’s easy to use that as an excuse to stop work – who could resist a little dog’s softly pleading eyes? I brew and drink a lot of tea and coffee, especially as my current work space is the kitchen table. Using the Internet for non-essential purposes is another great way to waste time. Close to deadlines, I disable the modem so I can’t obsessively check my email or visit favourite sites. I don’t switch off the dogs or the kettle.

4. With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

Curling up with the dogs and reading a great book while drinking tea. Or at least, that’s what I’d do if it actually was winter, but I live in Australia, where Christmas coincides with summer. That means the dogs and I are more likely to be paddling in the nearby river or collapsed in a heap under the shade of a big tree. Summers are extremely hot here.

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

I have a mug of Twinings Earl Grey on hand pretty much all the time. (See above regarding kitchen as workspace.) Food-wise, I graze on whatever is to hand. Sitting at the computer eating and drinking most of the day tends to lead to ‘writer’s bum’ (in American, I guess that would be ‘writer’s butt’) so I also go to the gym three times a week.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain? Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

Over the course of twelve books my villains have become a lot better (by ‘better’ I mean subtler and more interesting as characters – they’re no less evil.) In my first book I wrote a cardboard cutout villain. I even included a ‘since you’re about to die, I will now explain in great detail all the evil things I’ve done’ scene. These days, I guess I don’t write ‘villains’ as such. I’m intrigued by characters whose moral codes are a bit askew, or characters lacking the ability to come to terms with certain aspects of their existence. It’s interesting to explore their motivation and to look at how nature and nurture shaped them. Mac Dara, the prince of the Fair Folk from HEIR TO SEVENWATERS, is a complex character, with his own motivations and his own weird logic to back up his decisions. Some of my bad characters, such as the seriously warped Somerled in WOLFSKIN, are extremely popular with readers. A sympathetic baddie is a good baddie. Do I ever shock myself? No, but I don’t enjoy writing the scenes where unspeakable things happen.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Faolan from the Bridei Chronicles gets the prize for being the most trouble AND for being my favourite. Clearly unhappy with his intended bit-part as assassin and spy, he moved himself up to hero’s best friend in THE DARK MIRROR, then insisted on taking the central role in the second and third books in that series. One book to introduce him, one to break his heart, one to let him sort his life out. Hardest to write for has been Anluan, the male protag of the novel I’ve just finished, HEART’S BLOOD. He is such a burdened character, he and I both had to dig deep to find his heroic qualities.

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories. Stephen King even says we should kill them. What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

I prune nature descriptions, pagan rituals and angsty internal monologues. I’m getting better at recognising what is slowing the story down. Looking back at some of my earlier books, I can see a couple of passages that cry out for the editorial red pen.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

A tendency to wordiness. I’m working on it. Writing two novels for young adults, with a shorter word count, taught me to write more tightly.

10. If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

I enjoy discussing the craft of writing. The authors I most admire are those who combine excellent technical skills with great storytelling ability. I’ve already interviewed the two fantasy authors I most wanted to talk to, Jacqueline Carey and Joe Abercrombie, for genre writing blog http://www.writerunboxed.com. I’d love to talk about writing technique with Orson Scott Card – I especially admire the earlier books in his Alvin Maker series, in which he makes brilliant use of voice. I’d like to interview Margo Lanagan, whose recent novel, Tender Morsels, is a dark and gritty variation on Snow White and Rose Red.

From the mouth of Clodagh, the narrator of HEIR TO SEVENWATERS:

1. What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?

Recognise your own strengths and trust your own judgment. Who would have thought my sewing ability could have achieved what it did? It helps to have capable friends, too.

2. How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?

My author has a theory that ordinary women can be heroes without needing magical powers, so she didn’t give me any except for the ability to mind-talk with my twin sister, and that only got me in more trouble. She didn’t give me any combat skills, either, because she has another theory that her stories need to be plausible within their historical and cultural context. As it happens, I did quite well with just my common sense, courage and readiness to accept outsiders. Oh, I did get one small magical device to use. Judging by what happened, I think I’d have been better off without it.

3. What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

We don’t have any of those in our stories. What has to be vanquished is fear or prejudice or a crippling memory. We did face a dark prince of the Tuatha de Danann. This time around, we got the better of him by courage and cleverness, and a smidgeon of magical craft. It was a case of out-tricking the trickster. I feel sure there will be a next time; he wasn’t happy.

4. Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

My author believes in true love, but she thinks it’s unrealistic to have everyone live happily ever after. My beloved and I got a ‘happy for the foreseeable future BUT…’ sort of ending. It’s enough to be going on with; I’m a practical person. When you have a powerful enemy, you don’t expect to live the rest of your life in peace.

5. Magic artifacts? (You know what I mean, enchanted swords, books of spells…) Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…

In the right hands, this kind of thing can be very useful. In untrained hands (mine, for instance) it’s a really bad idea. In our type of story, it’s not magical trappings that save the day but human virtues such as courage, faith, love and loyalty. In other words, it’s what a person is INSIDE that makes the difference. (Wait – my author just pointed out that her next story contains magical mirrors, grimoires and a spectral horse … Oh, it’s all right, my beloved tells me we’re not in that one.)

Meet the author Monday: Michael Sullivan August 30, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
add a comment
Hiya folks,Today we start our author interview series, beginning with a debut author Michael Sullivan! His debut book The Crown Conspiracy has received positive reviews from Fantasybookcritic and Odyssey Books.

The Crown Conspiracy is the story of thief Royce Melborn who is framed for the murder of the King. He and his partner must clear their… if not good, at least innocent-of-murder, names or face a death sentence.

So enjoy, pose your questions or comments on the blog, and remember: we’re giving away prizes this month. It seems we just can’t help being Santa Claus. (I’m not as witty as Jana’s intros… but I try!)

Vital Stats on Michael:
Lives: Virginia
Webpage:  Michael-Sullivan
Books: The Crown Conspiracy: (Oct 2008) | Avempartha (April 2009)
Classification: Classic epic fantasyFrom the mouth of the author:

1. What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

What I have the greatest problem with in most fantasy novels is the extreme amount of unnecessary information writers provide about their worlds. Authors work very hard to develop a wonderful and elaborate setting but I get the impression that some are just unable to restrain themselves from sharing. Not everything they invented fits with the plot, but they find all the details and backgrounds so interesting they assume the reader will too. In reality, I think most readers read fiction for the story and the characters, not so much for the setting. The setting should support the story, not drag it down which can happen when for every page of plot, you need to wade through five pages of description, background and ancient history. I am also not particularly pleased with the efforts some authors appear to go through to create unpronounceable names for characters. I will admit I am guilty of using a few long, oddly spelled names for places and things, but these have a plot element attached. Character names I think should be easily recognizable or at least easy to sound out, with at least one vowel and without apostrophes or hyphens. I don’t see the point in making the reader work. Reading fantasy should be fun.

2. What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why? No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

I’ve always been partial to Harvey the pooka, just because he is so friendly and polite, but a balrog is a real attention getter.

3. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble. What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

This is a notion I have never understood, although I have heard other writers talk about it. It is like asking what is it that prevents you from skiing, or lounging on a beach. I’ve never been distracted while working on a project. If anything, I spend too much time focused on a story. If I am not writing, I am thinking about it, penning pages in my head. If I take a break and sit down to watch television, I quickly see something that triggers an idea and off I go to work on it. The only thing that prevents me from writing is responsibilities and other irritants like eating, sleeping and walking the dog.

4. With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

Writing. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it is really what I do in winter. I take summers off to play. I bike, paint, hike, etc. But when September arrives, I start my next project and work on it through the winter finishing around spring. When it is cold, snowy and windy outside and the naked branches are rapping the window of my study, sitting with a cup of coffee and writing is great.

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

Just coffee, otherwise I get my keyboard all sticky.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain? Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

What I think makes a good villain is a believable one. There are too many two-dimensional antagonists—characters that are evil because they are evil. I actually think the best villain is the kind you can understand and even to some extent sympathize with. And no, I’ve never scared myself, I am pretty at home with my dark side.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Again another question that doesn’t really apply to me and my writing. Sometimes my characters like to go off and do or say something that wasn’t planned, but it is a random thing. None of my characters have ever really been a problem. (whispers: of course I have to say that or the Fictional Character’s Union (FCU) will come down on me with a lawsuit.)

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories. Stephen King even says we should kill them. What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

Do writers really remember these? I don’t keep a list. It is kinda morbid just thinking of all these little decaying corpses laying around.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

I am actively working on trusting the reader more. Readers are more intelligent and observant than I expect. I want to make sure they get all the little clues and points and because of that I make them too obvious, too easy. As a result, I am working on making the gaps between what is said and what is implied wider. Putting just enough information up so that the reader can figure out for themselves what’s happening. I think this makes the book interactive. The reader becomes part of the story as it demands their participation. Of course I need to measure very carefully so that the gaps aren’t too far for the average person to leap, otherwise…well—splat!

10. If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

I suppose this is another way of asking who my favorite authors are. I don’t have a desire to interview or “pick the mind” of another author, but I’m sure I would enjoy the dinner conversation at a meal with King, Rowlings, Updike, Steinbeck, and Tolkien assuming those deceased can return for the dinner untainted…maybe I would leave King out just to be on the safe side.

From the mouth of Royce Melborn:

1. What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?

Avoid doing good deeds—they always end in disaster and never pay well.

2. How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?

Useful, but creepy. As far as getting magic powers…I’d be happy if Sullivan would just leave me alone.

3. What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

Pay me.

4. Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

I’d bet money the romance books are lying too.

5. Magic artifacts? (You know what I mean, enchanted swords, books of spells…) Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…

Not much experience with that unless you’re referring to Alverstone, and if you are you’re obviously listening to dwarves which is a bad sign right there and more than enough reason to end this interview.

Meet the author Monday: Elizabeth Bear August 23, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
add a comment

Welcome to another Interview Friday, folks! I’m really excited for this next one, Elizabeth Bear’s Sci-Fi is some of my favorite out there. Imagine my delight to discover she writes Fantasy as well! Wooohooooo! She has won a long list of awards and honorifics for her writing, including the following in 2008:

  • Philip K. Dick Memorial Award nominee (Undertow)
  • Lambda Award nominee (A Companion to Wolves) (written with Sarah Monette)
  • Asimov’s Readers Choice Award for 2007 (“Tideline”)
  • Hugo Award for Best Short Story (“Tideline”)
  • Sturgeon Award (“Tideline”) Sidewise Award nominee (“Lumiere”)
  • Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Nominee (“Dust”)

Vital Stats

Lives: Connecticut
Webpage: Elizabeth Bear
Books
: The Promethean Age : Blood & Iron (2006) Whiskey & Water (2007), Blood & Iron paperback release (June 2008) Ink & Steel (July 2008) Hell & Earth (August 2008). Iskryne world (with Sarah Monette): A Companion to Wolves (Oct 2007) The Edda of Burdens: All the Windwracked Stars (Oct 2008), By the Mountain Bound (forthcoming Oct 2009) The Sea thy Mistress (forthcoming Oct 2010)
(And many Sci-Fi novels, short stories and more!)
Fun Fact: She was born the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins
Genres: Norse Fantasy, Historical Fantasy and Contemporary Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi

On to the Interview:

1. What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

Oh, I have a ton. Usually, I start writing a novel because I’m annoyed by some common trope and want to undermine it. Thus, the companion-animal fantasy in A Companion To Wolves, to choose an example at random.

2. What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why? No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.

I have to pick just one? Oh, that’s hard. I love dragons And they are so very rarely done well. They have to be used sparingly, I think, because it’s easy to wear the luster off–but a good dragon is unmatchable.

3. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble. What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

I’m not actually all that procrastinatory. More often, my frustration is wanting to write and finding that the story isn’t quite cooked yet.

4. With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?

Well, I live in New England, so my favorite winter activity is waiting for the weather to clear. ;-) Mostly, my life doesn’t change too much in winter: I do less hiking, and more climbing indoors as opposed to out. If I had a dog and a fireplace, my favorite thing would be sitting in front of the fireplace with my dog and a mug of cider.

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

Not in particular. I often have characters who crave a particular thing, though–I’m a method writer, apparently, and one of the things I do in order to write a character is feed myself things they like. This can be very problematic when it comes to foodie characters, or alcoholics, or a couple of the Shadow Unit characters, whose physical demands are in excess of five thousand kilocalories a day.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain? Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

I have shelves full of forensic textbooks. The contents of my own head are not particularly scary to me. Although I did once deeply worry an ex-boyfriend by getting a little too thoroughly into the head of Vlad III or Wallachia. I don’t often write villains, per se. I write antagonists, which is to say, people who are on the opposite side from the protagonists, but who are not puppy-kicking evil. Some people consider this a strength of my work. Others, a weakness.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Michelangelo, one of the protagonists of Carnival. He’s a bit of a sociopath, and he really did not want to let me get into his head and get access to his motives.

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories. Stephen King even says we should kill them. What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

I try not to cut out the good bits, actually. Because I am a chronic under-writer–apparently the opposite of Mr. King, who I know claims to cut 15% of his first draft–I rarely have editors telling me to cut things. More often, they get after me to add bits, and explain more, and establish things more. So my second draft is usually 15% longer than my first draft, because of all the stuff I left out. That advice to “murder your darlings,” I think, often gets misinterpreted. People take it to mean that you should cut out any bit you like, which is just nonsense. What it means, or what I understand it to mean, is if you are getting attached to the pretty at the expense of the story and the character development, the pretty has to come out. If you find yourself going through amazing elaborations to avoid cutting a sentence because you think it’s pretty… cut the sentence. That’s just part of good editing.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

That’s another meme I think is nonsense. Any writing process that works is a good process, and this idea that you have to do it in a particular approved way to be a Real Writer is foolishness. As long as what we are doing produces quality, finished work, and the general quality trend is upwards, we’re doing it right. That said, my worst habit is probably a workaholic streak. Even when I don’t really need to be working–or when it might be smart for me to take a break and let my brain regenerate–I often keep pushing. I’ve gotten better about it, though. I’m on vacation right now!

10. If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

Living or dead? I dunno. I never really thought about it. I do study the work of other writers for technique, and there are some books of writing craft I think are indispensable–John Gardner’s On Becoming A Novelist is a great book on how to observe like a writer. I’d like to buy Edward Gorey a cup of tea.

Meet the author Monday: Mark Henry August 10, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview.
add a comment

Repost from October 2008

*hack, cough, phlegm…wheeze*  Hallo boys and girls…  Welcome to Halloween week at Reality By Pass.  Yours truly has gotten in the spirit by coming down with the cold from hell.  Brains leaking, shuffling from room to room dragging a blankie…puts me right in line with the zombie creatures of myth, book and movie…which goes right along with our kick off author interview for the week: Mark Henry author of Happy Hour of the Damned, and the forth coming Road Trip of the Living Dead.

<<Snipped for out of date>>

Moving on to Mark.

Vital Stats:
Lives: We’re not so sure about this.  Amanda may have devoured his brains already.
Website: Burlesque of the Damned
BooksHappy Hour of the Damned, Road Trip of the Living Dead (2009)

From the mouth of the author:
Do you have a day of the week that is your most creative day?  Or do all the days just gang up and attack you all the time?
I’m not more creative on any specific day, just less lazy, less distractible.  I have to get into a groove to write well, usually the first 500 words of the day is crap and then I’ll move into something actually readable.

What is your favorite supernatural critter and why?
No joke, mine is zombies.  I still love ‘em.  I should be completely tired and burnt out on them three books into my Amanda Feral series but I’m not.  In fact, my wife and I are going to see Quarantine this weekend (the remake of the spanish horror movie [REC]).  It’s partially due to my mother who introduced me to zombie movies as a kid and partly the   whole metaphor thing.  Need to make a statement about rampant commercialism?  Use a zombie.  Want to get existential on someone’s ass?  Nothing says life is meaningless like the shambling undead.  See?

We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

Facebook IM and AIM.  I can be minding my own business with a regular distraction like Wordtwist and then all of a sudden I’m sucked into endless chatter involving porn names or celebrity gossip.  One thing leads to another an here comes the AIM chatroom.  Then all of a sudden it’s 5 o’clock and I haven’t written a thing.  I need a 12 step group.  I’m not kidding.

With the holidays coming up and October being a good kick off, what is your favorite Halloween activity?
Definitely going to the pumpkin patch.  When someone first brought it up years ago.  I was like, “why not just go to Safeway?” I had no idea that there were corn mazes (where else do you get an opportunity to scream “Malachi?”), hay rides (admittedly retarded but nonetheless fun) and hot cider (perfect for those chilly fall cider fights, just make sure it’s scalding).

I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?
Not really.  Though spaghettios with meatballs and fritos make me pretty happy.  Also, fat.

What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?
Really good villains need to be human, too, have some characteristics that the reader can identify with.
They’re always creepier if you kind of like them.  I feel a real affinity for the villains, I guess that’s why Amanda is an anti-heroine.  If you can fall in love with her then I’ve done my job.  Villain be damned.

Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?
Martin.  Amanda’s therapist/boyfriend.  He was definitely tricky.  I had to write him just thin enough for the reader to let [Massive Spoiler Deleted] slide.  If he was fully fleshed out and likeable that kind of plot point would be unforgiveable.  Maybe it is anyway.  Hmm.

Stephen King says we should murder our darlings.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?
He does say that.  So do Strunk and White, right?  I don’t know.  My stuff is so over-the-top that if I deleted the stuff that made me the happiest the book would lose something.  Though, I’m on the third book now and I almost wish I’d killed the idea of footnotes.  That shit is hard to keep up on.

What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?
Comma vomit!  I use commas like Gossip Girls use credit cards.  They’re everywhere.  I have this suspicion that there’s a secret edict at Kensington, where the copy editor just gets to skip that part, lest they go completely insane.  They don’t skip it, of course.  I bet they hate my long dashes, though.

If you were going to interview another UF author, whose brain would you want to pick…or consume, we’re not picky.
I do interview lots of urban fantasy authors.  I’m certainly not shy about asking.  But there is one.  Christopher Moore.  I’m not sure if he’d consider himself an urban fantasy author, but I do.  I’d love to get into his mind for a bit and see how he pieces together story.  Can that be arranged?

From the mouth Amanda:
Boxers or briefs? You know I had to ask.
I don’t really have a preference, just as long as there’s no shit stain running up the back.  I won’t have a man that can’t wipe his own ass.  That goes for dribblers, too.  Pathetic.

Since no one seems to be able to stay out of gore covered trouble how do you get the blood stains out?
I have no idea what you’re talking about.  I’m a dainty eater.  And anything that can’t be dry cleaned is bound for the furnace, if you catch my drift.

It seems most UF characters get a wardrobe I’d kill for.  So what is your favorite article of clothing?
I don’t know what you mean by “character”  but, I’ve yet to meet anyone who could match my wardrobe in real life, let alone in print.  Sure.  Some try.  Sad little posers.

What did your author screw up most about you?
He’s really more of a ghost writer.  I give him the goods and he forms the pesky sentences and shit.  I can’t be bothered with the minutiae, I kind of have a social life if you haven’t noticed.

Is there true love on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?
True love.  Hmm.  I guess anything’s possible.  Still, I’ve seen the new book and I can tell you this, I’ll definitely be getting some trim.

Thank you Mark and Amanda!

<<Snipped for out of date>>

~Jana

Meet the author Monday: Stacia Kane August 2, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Urban Fantasy.
add a comment
Repost October 2008
Iiiiit’s Friday!  And there was much rejoicing!  Not only because it marks the end of the week for most of us worker bees, but we’re a week closer to Halloween and we have another lovely author interview to share!

<<Snipped for out of date>>

Housekeeping done, I wish my RL housekeeping was as easy, let’s get down to the interviewing.  Today’s delightful diva is Stacia Kane, author of Personal Demons, yes the one we featured on Wednesday, and The Demon Inside (2009).  Oh, and Unholy Ghosts is coming in 2009 too!

Let’s dig right in.

Vital Stats
Lives:  England!  Woohoo.
Webpage:  Stacia Kane
BooksPersonal Demons, The Demon Inside (2009), Unholy Ghosts (2009).  She has a bunch of others, but we’re only putting UF stuff here today.

From the mouth of the Author:

Do you have a day of the week that is your most creative day?  Or do all the days just gang up and attack you all the time?
Man, those days are such jerks. They follow me around with knives and taunt me, all the time, regardless of what I’m actually doing at any given moment. I hate them.

What is your favorite supernatural critter and why?
Ohhh, I still love vampires. I mean, demons are fun, and I am very, very partial to ghosts, but I still think vampires are sexy and I love them. I’m rather bloodthirsty anyway (um, not in that way. Well, maybe in that way. Muahaha) but the whole immortality thing is just way too appealing.

We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?
I have two of them, actually; one is seven and the other is almost four, and they nag me constantly. Like it wasn’t enough for me to give them life and let them destroy my figure in the process. They actually expect me to feed them and give them juice and pay attention to them when they talk and stuff. Sheesh. Not to mention my husband.

Actually, my big one is baking. My family can always tell when I’m avoiding a project, because suddenly I’m baking layer cakes with fresh whipped cream, or meringue pies, or cookies, or whatever else. And I don’t really eat them, because I’m on a diet (I have lost 32 pounds in the last year and am now the same size I was when I met my husband, which makes me quite happy), but I love to make them, the more complex the better.

With the holidays coming up and October being a good kick off, what is your favorite Halloween activity?
Oooh. I love everything about Halloween! Everything. This year the hubs is taking the girls Trick-or-Treating while I stay home in my sexy zombie costume and hand out candy (it seems to be catching on in our area!). I celebrate Samhain, so I put out some offerings and do tarot readings for myself and some other stuff, so I’m really looking forward to those too. I just love all of it!

I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?
No. I’m not an inspirational eater. I’m an inspirational smoker. I smoke Camel Lights, and I have to have one before I get to work.

What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?
No, I’ve always known I’m kind of a sick freak, so…  I remember when the hubs and I were dating and we went to see the film “Apt Pupil”, which was an excellent movie, we thought. (RIP Brad Renfro.) And we were discussing it with the guy who worked at the local video store and I mentioned how I think the thing about movies like that is, everyone has a very, very dark side that is attracted to horrible things; it’s human nature, and it’s easy to be fascinated by serial killers or the holocaust or whatever horrible atrocities. But why I thought the film was so powerful was that it showed how dangerous it can be to really give yourself over to that dark side, and what it can do to you mentally. Which the hubs and I thought made perfect sense, but the guy at Suncoast seemed to think I was saying the Nazis were cool or something, which I totally was NOT (and I don’t think that, not at all, not one bit. Nazis=BAD). And he got all offended and walked away before I could explain, and told all the other employees what a terrible person I was. It was very upsetting, actually. (And incidentally, Malleus, Maleficarum and Spud had run-ins with the Nazis during WWII, and still have extremely strong feelings about the experience.)

A really good villain must be convinced that he or she is in the right. Yes, there is the sociopath-as-villain, or the ones who enjoy hurting people, but in general I like a vilaain who fools him or herself into believing they are doing the moral and good thing. Those villains are so easy to hate, but they’re also easy to understand. And I think it makes them scarier because we understand.

Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?
Hmm. Probably Brian Stone. He’s very complex, but I didn’t really have time to get as deeply into his complexities as I would have liked.

What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?
Oh, gosh. Um…Actually I usually figure out a way to work them in somewhere else if I like them that much. *blush*

What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?
I’m a feedback whore. I shouldn’t be, but I am, and I get very hurt when people don’t read my stuff.

If you were going to interview another UF author, whose brain would you want to pick…or consume, we’re not picky.
Hmm. I guess Neil Gaiman isn’t technically UF, but him. I would say someone like Mark Henry but let’s face it, there’s nothing to pick there.

From the mouth Greyson:

Boxers or briefs? You know I had to ask.
Boxer briefs. If I wear them at all. I don’t always.

Since no one seems to be able to stay out of gore covered trouble how do you get the blood stains out?
Oh, I have servants for that sort of thing. I don’t know what they do; honestly, they probably throw the bloody things out and just buy new ones. F*** it. I’ve got the money.

It seems most UF characters get a wardrobe I’d kill for.  So what is your favorite article of clothing?
I quite like my overcoat. It’s just a nice black wool, but it fits well and looks good with everything. I buy most of my clothes on Savile Row.

What did your author screwed up most about you?
She made me too sappy. I don’t enjoy being exposed like that; it’s like she thinks she deserves to know everything about me and to spread it around. She’s a dirty sneak, that one.

Is there true love on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?
Oh, no. That would be telling. You’ll have to wait and see, I guess; I don’t dare tell the author, she’d just blab it everywhere. It’s impossible to have any privacy with her around.

And there you have it!  Thank you Stacia and Greyson!

~J