Tag Archives: Interview

Writing Sherlock Holmes Mysteries with Liese Sherwood-Fabre: Authors in Focus Episode 112

Hi! Welcome to this episode of Authors in Focus Podcast. Iím James Reid, a fantasy author publishing as JMD Reid. This podcast is all about getting to know writers, their books, and what makes them tick.

We all have a storyteller inside of us. Join me as we find out what the rising stars and established voices in publishing have to say about their craft and inspiration.

My new book,†Mask of Guilt (Mask of Illumination Book 1), is out!

We all wear masks. Some of us to hide our guilt. Lady Foonauri, lost in the malaise of depression, finds purpose with a group of all-women thieves, the Cracked Gems. Intrigue, romance, betrayal, and adventure swirls around her in this epic fantasy tale!

Today, Iím joined by Liese Sherwood-Fabre! She is the author of†The Adventures of the Deceased Scholar (The Early Case Files of Sherlock Holmes Book 3)! Follow her on†Facebook,†Twitter,†Goodreads, and†Bookbub! Check out her†website†and her books on†Amazon!

 

Why Writing Sci-Fantasy YA Is Great with Ben Green: Authors in Focus Episode 110

Hi! Welcome to this episode of Authors in Focus Podcast. Iím James Reid, a fantasy author publishing as JMD Reid. This podcast is all about getting to know writers, their books, and what makes them tick.

We all have a storyteller inside of us. Join me as we find out what the rising stars and established voices in publishing have to say about their craft and inspiration.

My new book,†Mask of Guilt (Mask of Illumination Book 1), is out!

We all wear masks. Some of us to hide our guilt. Lady Foonauri, lost in the malaise of depression, finds purpose with a group of all-women thieves, the Cracked Gems. Intrigue, romance, betrayal, and adventure swirls around her in this epic fantasy tale!

Today, Iím joined by Ben Green! He is the author of the young adult sci-fantasy novel†Forged in Fallout! Follow him on†Facebook,†Instagram,†Goodreads, and†Pintrest. And check out his books on†Amazon!

Authors in Focus Episode 102: When a Novella Becomes a 5 Book Series with Adam Gaffen

Hi! Welcome to this episode of Authors in Focus Podcast. Iím James Reid, a fantasy author publishing as JMD Reid. This podcast is all about getting to know writers, their books, and what makes them tick.

We all have a storyteller inside of us. Join me as we find out what the rising stars and established voices in publishing have to say about their craft and inspiration.

My new book, Mask of Guilt (Mask of Illumination Book 1), is out!

We all wear masks. Some of us to hide our guilt. Lady Foonauri, lost in the malaise of depression, finds purpose with a group of all-women thieves, the Cracked Gems. Intrigue, romance, betrayal, and adventure swirls around her in this epic fantasy tale!

Today, Iím joined by Adam Gaffen! He is the author of the sci-fi novel†A quiet Revolution: The Cassidy Chronicles Volume 4! Follow him on†Facebook†and†Instagram! Visit his†website†and checkout his books on†Amazon!

Tuesday Roundup – New Interview!!

Happy Tuesday!
How is it going!
†Watched a fascinating video on the Apollo Mission computer they took on it and the problems they had during Apollo 11’s historic landing on the moon!
Writing on Sands of Loss is kicking some butt. That break I took to work on some ghost writing seemed to knock me out of my funk. Of course, I forgot all about Nettles, the thorny cat pet of Vounee, so need to slip her into the previous eleven chapters…
Whoops. Sorry for forgetting about you!
Enjoying how the rewrites on Shattered Soul is going. Great stuff.
  • ManyBooks has interviewed me about my Jewels of Illumination Box Set! Want to learn more about me and the Jewels of Illumination series, check it out! And click here to check out ManyBooks’s promos!
  • Check out this great review on my latest collaboration with Michael Evan, The Adventures of Max and the Captain! EG Stone wrote a great review! Check it out!
  • Episode 82 of my Authors in Focus Podcast! Today, I chatted with romance author Dana Littlejohn! Listen to it now!
  • I have finished the next reread of The Judging Eye, just doing some proofreading of it. Should be up in a few days.

Good Monday Afternoon & $5 Gift Card Weekly Giveaway!

Good Monday Afternoon!

I know, I know, it’s Monday! It’s a rainy, miserable day here in Tacoma. Hope it’s better where you are!

I have settled on a title for Shadows of the Dragons 4: The Sands of Loss! I think it has a nice ring to it!

I’m into Chapter 3 on writing it! I think it’s going to be a great novel!

I finished reading Full Metal Panic 10. I’ve been a fan of the series for 15 or so years, and it’s been great to read the source novels translated into English. 10 was a gut punch. Major character death, the origins of everything that’s been going on explained, and when the bad explained his goals, I got it. I really got why he’s doing it. That’s a great villain. I could almost root for him, but our hero’s refutation of it was better.

What are you doing today?

Cool things that happened!

  • I broke my website but now it’s fixed after chatting with GoDaddy!
  • I was interviewed by Adam Gaffen!†Check it out as his blog!
  • Weekly Giveaway! To win a chance at a $5 Amazon Gift Card, comment below with your favorite Fantasy Novel! Contest closes on Sunday, March 1st!
  • Let’s caption this picture!

Author in Focus Podcast Episode 1 – Interview with Andy Peloquin

Hi! Welcome to this episode of the Authors in Focus Podcast. Iím James Reid, a fantasy author publishing as JMD Reid. This podcast is all about getting to know writers, their books, and what makes them tick.

We all have a storyteller inside of us. Join me as we find out what the rising stars and established voices in publishing have to say about their craft and inspiration.

I am excited to say that my second fantasy series, Secret of the Jewels, is being published.†Diamond Stained†is available from Amazon and is free in Kindle Unlimited. On May 5th, Book Two,†Ruby Ruins, will be out.

In the inaugural episode, Iím interviewing Andy Peloquin. A veteran of indie fantasy, heís now taking the plunge into Sci-Fi with Assassination Protocol

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/andypeloquin/

Interview: Robert Cano

Today we’re getting to know Robert Cano. He is the author of The Dark Archer, an intriguing fantasy book!

1. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you.

Three books, huh?† Thatís a tough one.† I think Iíd have to go with The Silmarillion, Hannibal, and The Vampire Armand.

Those are some interesting choices. I’ve read two of these and maybe the last one. I don’t remember those Ann Rice novels that much any more and how far I got. I know I got through Queen of the Damned.

2. What animal best describes your personality?

Bald eagle.† Or dolphin.

Fascinating. Such different animals.

3. If there was one place in the world you’d love to visit, where would it be?

Just one?† Ouch.† I think Iíd have to go with either Iceland or China.

And like any good writer, you managed to slip in a second choice, LOL!

4. Are you a cat or dog person?

Is both acceptable?† I think cats more closely resemble my attitude toward life.† But dogs are always so kind and loving and excited.

I suppose both are!

5. If you could have a dinner with one historical person, who would it be?

Probably Alexander the Great.† The man was a tactical mastermind.

That would be interesting. He had some great ideas. Love how he dealt with war elephants.

Now let’s get down to brass tacks and find out about Robert’s writing.

1. Besides writing, what are you passionate about?

Reading!† I also love spending time with my family (although with recent events Iíve discovered that there can be too much of a good thing), and I love movies and video games.

All great things!

2. What drew you to the craft of writing?

At first it was poetry.† I began writing poetry in earnest when I was around 19 and in college.† Trying to impress the girlfriend or some such craziness.† Thankfully, me, and my poetry, grew out of that…

Awesome. It’s so interesting where life can lead us.

3. When writing a novel, are you a detailed planner or do you fly by the seats of your pants?

I am definitely a pantser.† The strange part about it is that I have had the world in my head for so long that it sometimes feels like itís already happened, Iím just chronicling it now.

It’s always interesting to hear about other author’s processes. That’s how Steven King often describes it.

4. Tell us why we’ll love reading The Dark Archer

Life and what it means, the chase for redemption, for hope.† And all with something as dark as a wraith to find these things.† In my book, as with Fae lore, the wraith is a soulless entity, frightening to all in the world, for it must feed off of the life of those in the world, always searching for completionÖ† I think we can all relate to that.† There are some pretty heavy topics within it as well, for my characters deal with the concepts of PTSD and depression.† In the end, however, there is always hope.

This sounds like a really interesting book!

5. Inspiration is such a fascinating phenomenon. Where did the inspiration for The Dark Archer come from?

I had written a short story to submit to an anthology, and although it was turned down, I was told that the story was not only good, but merited a longer telling.† That story is currently on ice, but my novella, The Suffering (which comes chronologically before The Dark Archer) gives the background to a character I introduced in that short story.† The Dark Archer is a spinoff of The Suffering.

That’s how my current series came about. I created a short story called the Assassin Remorse, the first complete fantasy story I ever finished, and I created this jewel-based magic system. I never planned on going anywhere with it, but people really liked it and I started thinking of it and it blossomed into a large series of books.

6. The concept is fascinating. A character trapped between life and death. Were there any particular challenges in writing this series?

I think my main challenge was having to be careful as to how I navigated the MC.† Bene is incredibly powerful, and his power only grows throughout the next book as well, but to balance all of this, I gave him both physical and mental/emotional limitations to what he could do, or would be willing to do.† That internal struggle is indicative of any of us throughout every day life.

Yeah, you have to watch out with a character that’s too powerful.

7. What is your favorite character from the Dark Archer?

I think my favorite character would be Feorin.† He is a satyr war hero who was stripped of his honor and exiled when he decided to walk away from the war he had known all his life.† The Great War was all he had ever known, and he was a high ranking official, but all he wanted was peace, and for his actions in war, redemption.† The only reason he wasnít killed upon abandoning the war, was because of his heroism…

He sounds fascinating. This really does sound like a great book.

8. What is next for you and writing?

Well, later this year, the sequel to The Dark Archer comes out.† This new novel picks up a few months after the end of The Dark Archer, and then sweeps us off on a whirlwind of an adventure.† Our favorite characters must discover the origins of The Shadow Cult, and then figure out how to survive it.† In the process, they also discover a far more sinister enemy, one that may be coming back in the distant future.

I bet your fans are eager to read it! You really have something that feels special here.

9. Last, do you have any advice for a new or aspiring author?

Run away!!!!† Just kidding.† My biggest piece of advice is to learn learn learn.† Read, learn, apply.† Repeat.† Take what works for you and apply it in your own way into your work.† We must never stop learning. † But what I think might be the biggest thing is find your voice.† Donít be another author.† Be you.† And then become the best you you can be.

That’s the best word. Authenticity sales. People are good at sniffing out the fakes.

Thanks for the chat, Robert!†

All he wanted was the safety of his princess. What he received was eternal torment. Bereft of a soul, a wraith who should have no ties to humanity, Bene wants nothing more than release from his twisted existence. Trapped between life and nothingness, he hopes to reclaim his soul and find the death he so desperately desires. Bene finds rare solace in the company of Feorin, a satyr war hero who chose exile over continuing the centuries long war with the Fae. He doesn’t look at Bene with fear or contempt, but rather hope. If a wraith can find a path to redemption, perhaps he could as well…

To purchase Rober’s works, you can find him anywhere, but Amazon is probably easiest.

The Dark Archer:† https://www.amazon.com/dp/1950722309

For my reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/620898828753102

Twitter and Instagram: @shadowyembrace

My blog: shadowyembrace.com

Interview: Clay Gilbert

This week, I got to get to know a new indie author. Clay Gilbert is man who writes what he loves: horror, urban fantasy, and science fiction! He’s just released his seventh novel onto Amazon, The Kind Memory’s Children: Book One The Golden Road. And that’s just one of his intriguing novels!

First, let’s get to know Clay with some fun, quirky questions!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you.
The Bible, Moby-Dick, and Frank Herbertís Dune.
Dune, that’s a good choice. My favorite science fiction novel, and there is a reason the Bible has endured the centuries whether or not you believe in god or even Judeo-Christianity. Lot of truth about reality found in there.

What animal best describes your personality?
Cats.
Interesting.

If there was one place in the world you’d love to visit, where would it be?
Oakley Court, near Windsor, in the UK, the location for much of the filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Are you a cat or dog person?
Cat
I had a feeling after your personality answer!

If you could have a dinner with one historical person, who would it be?
Hmm. Maybe Frank Herbert or Robert Heinlein.
Frank Herbert had such fascinating ideas about the great man fallacy.

 

Now let’s get down to brass tacks!

Besides writing, what are you passionate about?
My Christian faith, and the Bible; music of all sorts, but particularly the music of the Grateful Dead; movies, and books.

What drew you to the craft of writing?
I started writing and reading early, and from the time I realized that there were people who wrote as a job, the way that my father went to his office every day, thatís the job I wanted. I published my first short story at the age of thirteen, in Scholastic magazine. They paid me $25. I never really looked back after that.
Awesome! I never shared what I was writing with anyone at thirteen. Too scared. That, and I couldn’t finish a story before a new idea caught my attention.

When writing a novel, are you a detailed planner or do you fly by the seats of your pants?
Thank you for not using the term Ďpantser.í I donít outline. I donít plan in advance, much. At the same time, my process isnít as random as what Ďfly by the seat of your pantsí suggests. I usually start with a character, or pair of characters, and let them tell me what the story is. In other words, the conflicts, situations, end goals, and the world my story happens to be set in are all centered around and suited for the people in the story. And I find that they know whatís best for the story much more than I would, if I were to force things. Outlining to me seems like trying to have control over something I donít want control over.
Interesting take on it.

What has attracted you to writing across such diverse genres as science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror? Of the three, which is your favorite to write about.
I probably consider myself mostly a science fiction writer, although I do have a strong love for horror and urban fantasy as well. I just published a second horror novel, Cassieís Song, the sequel to my vampire novel Dark Road to Paradise, and I plan on publishing two more horror novels next year, along with more science fiction. The Kind, Book One: The Golden Road is the first of a two-part urban fantasy, and while I like that genre, I donít know if Iíll have more to say in that area once the second book, To Terrapin and Back Again, is published this fall. Weíll have to see.

Tell us about Annah, the heroine from your Children of Evohe Series. What makes her such an intriguing character to read about?
I sometimes refer to the first book of that series, Annah and the Children of Evohe, as ĎJane Eyreí in space. Like Charlotte Bronteís heroine, Annah is an outcast in her world, and an independent thinker. Also like Jane, Annah finds love with a much older manóthe human Gary Holder, whose ship crash-lands on Annahís homeworld of Evohe, and whom she nurses back to health. Unlike Jane, though, Annah becomes a messiah figure to her people, similar to Paul Atreides in Frank Herbertís Dune. And that was one of the things I wanted to explore when I started that seriesówhy are there no female messiah-figures in fiction, science fiction specifically? What would it be like to merely want to fit in, and to have this sort of destiny put upon you? Annahís interesting because she has a strong desire to belong, but the other things she feels called to do canít help but divide her from her people in some ways. Sheís also not some kind of flawless, perfect heroine. She has many strengths, but she also has fears and weaknesses and failings, and certainly doesnít always do the right thing.
That does sound interesting. Nice foundation to build off of!

Eternity and its City sounds intriguing. What was the inspiration behind Eternity’s quest to lead it to freedom?
I wrote the original draft of Eternity between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, or, in other words, between the ages of seventeen and eighteen, the same time period that passes for Eternity in the novel. I revised it a number of times, but itís surprising to me that, in its published form, itís still about 75% the book that seventeen-year-old me wrote all those years ago. The inspiration was twofold, really: Iíve also enjoyed dystopian books like Huxleyís Brave New World and Orwellí s 1984, but I also enjoy coming-of-age stories like S.E. Hintonís The Outsiders. I wanted to write a dystopian novel in which the broad political struggle was more a metaphor for the growing-up process of adolescence. It was very immediate struggle to me when I first wrote the book, because it was pretty much my life, or how I experienced it, internally. Revising it, later, as a adult, I was able to refine the raw emotions and the inexperienced prose style of my younger self into a form that, if seventeen-year-old me could see it, I think heíd say that was what he meant in the first place. Next year, Iím writing a sequel called Islands of Light. It takes place thirty years later, and, like the original book, will attempt to function on two levels. What do the struggles of youth look like to an adult, thirty years on? And also, what happens, politically, when you win a war? We won, but do we become the oppressors now? What does that look like? Iím looking forward to going back to the City and exploring those issues.

What do you have coming up next?
So far, in 2018, Iíve published The Conversationalist, Book One: Out of the Blue, the first part of a sci-fi romantic comedy, Cassieís Song, the second book in my vampire series Tales of the Night-Kind, and the first book of the urban fantasy The Kind, entitled The Golden Road. This fall, Iíll be publishing Book Two of The Kind, titled To Terrapin and Back Again, the second Conversationalist novel, entitled Mission to Mercy Prime, and the fourth Children of Evohe novel, Annah and the Arrow.

Last, do you have any advice for a new or aspiring author?
Write what you love, not what you think is going to sell. You must be your primary audience, starting out. If you write a story you are passionate about, other people will be, too. Write from passion, not fashions or trends. Write every day. Treat it like a job. Same time, same place, every day, for as much time as you can spare. Dismiss the idea of Ďwriterís blockí from your mind. ĎWriterís blockí is made up BS that people use as an excuse not to do their work. If you had a stopped-up toilet, and the plumber showed up and apologetically said he couldnít do his job because he had Ďplumberís block, would you stand for that? Donít stand for it in your writing, either. Set a goal. I try for an average of 20,000 words, or ten pages, a day. Whatever your daily goal is, donít stop until you achieve it, and eliminate Ďcanítí from your vocabulary.
That is some great advice that I personally agree with. Writing is my job, and I try to keep a schedule for it.

Well, thank you for letting me get a chance to talk to you! I wish you well on your writing!

Clay Gilbert says heís always liked stories, and that from the time he knew there were people who told them for a living, thatís what he wanted to do. Clayís work in various genres has been in print since his first short science fiction story, ďThe Computer Conspiracy,Ē was published in Scholastic magazine when he was just thirteen. Clay is the author of the science fiction series Children of Evohe, including the novels Annah and the Children of Evohe, Annah and the Exiles, Annah and the Gates of Grace, and Annah and the Arrow. He is also the author of the YA dystopian novel Eternity, the science fiction novel The Conversationalist: Out of the Blue and its sequel, The Conversationalist: Mission to Mercy Prime, as well as the vampire novel Dark Road to Paradise, and its sequel, Cassieís Song, all published by Dark Moon Press. He lives and works in Knoxville, TN. His author blog can be found at http://portalsandpathways.wordpress.com/, and the official website for his Children of Evohe novels resides at https://childrenofevohe.com/.

Interview with Autumn M. Brit

51w0Olv36sL._UX250_This week, I got to delve into the wonderful mind of Autumn M. Brit. She’s one of the many delightful indie authors I’ve discovered since embarking into the world of self-publishing.†She has two series under he belt, a Fantasy series called ‘Rise of the Fifth Order’ (a wonderful series) and a dystopian future series Friends of My Enemy (on my TBR list).

First, let’s get to know Autumn with some fun, quirky questions!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you.

Iím a practical girl so the first two books would be one on botany and the use of any and all plants found on the island. I want to know what can be used to make fiber like linen and rope strength as much as poisonous or not! The second book would be Wilderness First Aid. You know, just in case!

But the last bookÖ that is a tough one. My first thought was the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, but I think Iíd like a book I hadnít read. If I can stretch the rules a bit, Iíd love to the a compilation of all books in the Guin Saga. It looks so fascinating! I love heroic fantasy and at 130 books Ö well to have time to finish it Iíd have to be stuck on a deserted island. Hopefully by the time I reached the end Iíd have been rescued Ö or made myself a sailboat. ūüėČ

How thick would a 130 book anthology be? Well, it would definitely keep you busy!

What animal best describes your personality?

If I can choose any animal: dragon. Totally a dragon. BUT my husband likes to limit me to Ďrealí creatures. sigh. In that case, my totem is an owl. And that really does suit me. I tend to be quiet and observe. And owls (like dragons) have no major predators and are amazing hunters. I like that they are a traditional magical creature too, being a night hunter. It grants them the mythos of being able to fly between the spirit world and our world, which is probably why they are often selected as familiars for wizards and witches. An owl is also the symbol of the goddess Athena and her Roman incarnation Diana. Canít go wrong when you choose something representing the goddess of war and wisdom!

What do you mean dragons aren’t real? Next, you’ll say there aren’t elves!

If there was one place in the world you’d love to visit, where would it be?

This one is hard because I love to travel and there are so many places I want to go. In the last year I crossed off two of the top journeys on my list: hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu and Alaska. I really want to go to Iceland, preferably in the winter where I can soak in a hot spring and watch amazing auroras. And Iíd really love to see a good meteor shower anchored in a sheltered lagoon off a sand spit of an island one day. Somewhere you can watch stars fall all the way to the horizon. And Iíd love to hike a really long trek. The AT would be nice of even the PCT, but there are some really cool journeys in Nepal and Mongolia that are less well known and would be incredible. So this didnít really answer your question, because Iím not sure I can choose between those three. Iím thinking Iíll make my way to Iceland first, but you never know!

Soaking in a hot spring and watching nature’s beauty painted across the sky! Nice!

Are you a cat or dog person?

Well when I was younger, I had cats. But my family also had one dog throughout my childhood. I wanted a dog as a hiking companion when I was in college, but of course couldnít sneak one into my dorm. So when I met the man who became my husband and then met his Cairn Terrier Ö well I just knew Iíd do anything to be with that dog! So as an adult, Iím a dog person.

If you could have a dinner with one historical person, who would it be?

I love history and so this one took some thought. There are so many interesting people who have lived! Buddha would be awesome. Or Confuscious? Hmm Ö As a final decision though, Iím going to say Sappho. I admire her poetry, or at least the few fragments we have remaining of it. What has endured is her amazing legend as one of the most famous poets of antiquity. So Iíd love to hear more of her poetry – from her! – and about her life. Can you imagine learning what legends she holds of what the world was like before 600 BCE? And really, how could you not want to meet the poet who wrote:

Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal

What a great quote! I see why you like her.

Now that we got the fun questions out of the way, let’s get down to the brass tacks!

Besides writing, what are you passionate about?

Living! That may seem like a tossed off answer, but Iím serious. I love life and the adventure/journey of it. Iím never bored and even on the horrid days I know there will be a balance of amazing ones. I joke that even if I had a thousand years, life would be too short. I want to fill it with so much and get frustrated by the limitations of body (which thankfully isnít so bad at the moment!) and money/society. Why on earth do I have to earn a living? I want to see sunrises all over the world, taste food from every culture, and share a smile with strangers. I want to write amazing tales that inspire others to do the same. I want days with my family to really enjoy being with them. Everything always feels so rushed, because we donít have a thousand years and we do have to earn a living, and you end up missing some of the best moments running to the next thing. I guess that Iím passionate about smelling the flowers on the way.

†What drew you to the craft of writing?

Because I canít draw the ideas I see in my head. But I can write them pretty well. Honestly I was on track to be an artist and even have my BA in Studio Art – but it is also in English. Iíve picked away at writing while in high school and college, but didnít get serious until I was 35 when I realized I got a lot more enjoyment out of writing than I did drawing. And then I stumbled into the epublishing aspect and that gave me an outlet (selling artwork is not that easy!).

I love the challenge of writing. Crafting a comprehensive story is only the first part. I get into subtleties such a hidden clues in chapter headings to word choice based on a character POV. Writing, and by that I mean everything from creating a story, writing it, and editing it to high polish, stimulates my brain like nothing else. I write first for me, because I love trying to write the best story I can and because I love delving so deeply into the characters and plots of what might have only been a ten minute daydream. When I hear back that someone loved it to, or picked up on a tiny clue buried in the prose Ö oh it is so awesome!

I know what you mean. I was speaking to a beta reader on my second fantasy novel, and was thrilled when she made noticed foreshadowing I planted!

 

When writing a novel, are you a detailed planer or do you fly by the seats of your pants?

Iíve tried both ways. I wrote Born of Water with a very general idea that could have been summed up in three sentences. And I immediately got lost and bogged down. So then I rewrote it with a pretty detailed map. But spending months working on an outline to then write it for real is a VERY slow process. And I like the writing part. And I donít have a lot of writing time.

So now Iím a bit of a hybrid. I have a pretty clear idea of major events in a novel and know how it will end (usually – Iíve had characters make decisions that created a whole new book, but that is another story. The VERY end of that one did resolve how I expected. Sort of.), but I have no idea what is going to happen in each chapter when I sit down to write. Instead, I keep things flowing and guide my pace for tension and action by doing quick sentences under at least the next three chapters, though sometimes Iíll have half the book mapped out with quick notes including POV, major point/action of chapter, and how it should end. As I write and edit, Iíll keep side notes of things that feel off or need to be added in. Iíd almost call my writing method layering. I write out the main story, add in subplots and other details missed, make sure timelines match up and that clues for later actions are there, and then work on word use. Iím not sure it is the system Iíll always stick to. If I were a full time writer and not trying to maximize the bit of time I get each day to write, I might develop a whole new system! But this seems to work to keep the idea flowing while it is fresh and then adding critical depth when Iím in a more editorial mode.

Your trilogy Rise of the Fifth Order are imaginative fantasy. What attracted you to writing speculative, genre fiction?

Because that is what I read when I was a teenager! I wouldnít say I set out to write epic fantasy as my first book or even really thought about it while I wrote the Rise of the Fifth Order. I was really writing a story that would be one I would have loved to have read. Only when I was done to I realize that I needed to pick a genre and really got into the nitty gritty of what types of fantasy are out there. After I dipped my toe in the self-publishing world, I realized that having an idea of what beast Iím planning on writing is nice to know before I get going, even if it is a mishmash of several genres. The beauty of the indie publishing world is that you can have space dragons eating zombies if youíd like. I havenít gone quite that crazy yet, but I keep trying to write stories I love. And my first reading love was epic fantasy. ūüôā

I have a feeling, “Because that is what I read when I was a teenager!” is at the root of most Fantasy and other Speculative Fiction authors choice on subjects.

Inspiration is such a fascinating phenomenon. Where did the inspiration for the Rise of the Fifth Order come from?

The idea stemmed from the combination of two random ideas oddly enough. I had this story idea that was going no where in my head of an executive who was a dryad (could turn into plants, specifically a potted on in her office) at a conference and sees a young woman like herself, which is rare. But that is as far as the idea had grown before wilting. It just went nowhere. And at the same time there was this massive painting of a Mediterranean village †in the bathroom at my office. One day wondering what life was like in that painting combined with a woman with elemental powers who sees a young girl like herself, but different and Born of Water started to grow.

The rest of the story is more difficult to explain. I finished Born of Water knowing the story didnít end, but not knowing where it went. That is a mistake I avoid now when I right a series! I finish the whole thing first because there are definitely things Iíd tweak in Born of Water to set up everything for book 2 and 3 better. But I didnít have this first series planned and when I sat down writing Rule of Fire I only had a vague idea everyone had to go back to Lus na Sithchaine. Except they got into a fight on the Steppes and then ran into Tam again and Ria decides to leave with Zhao, and of course the whole point of the story is finding out who this man who used to be the Curse isÖ Rule of Fire is the first book where I really let the characters lead the way. They sorted out what was going on and when writing fell off, it was usually because I had a plot hole I had to solve before I could continue. That is how I realized what Elanthaís price for sending Sinika to Minna really was: it was a plot hole that needed answering. I knew Sinika would go after the Kith because that was an unresolved conflict from the previous war. The Church of Four Orders would never let their only defeat last. And I knew that balancing the spheres would be important but not be the whole solution, just bring about the resolution. Rule of Fire and Spirit of Life flowed into each other really well and that is how I want to write series from now on! But I can only say the inspiration for the second two books came from the characters reacting to what had happened in the first book and Born of Water came from a very strange place.

What is your favorite character from the Rise of the Fifth Order?

Am I allowed to choose? I feel like a parent and you shouldnít have a favorite. ūüôā

I think I relate to Darag the best. He could be represented by an owl too! I do like Niri and her voice flows naturally for me. Khodan, Ty, and Zhao are harder for me to get into their heads, but when I do it snaps into focus and I can write their voice quite well. Ria in Born of Water was nearly impossible for me to write. I wasnít very fond of her and thought about chucking her off the boat. But since the whole point of the story was saving her life, I couldnít let the Curse eat her. And Iím glad I didnít as I really like who she becomes in Rule of Fire and love writing her (and Zhaoís!) perspective as the different creatures they become (the dragon scene was the easiest one for me to do – I really should be a dragon). Sinika was always a challenge because he didnít let me in on his thoughts. He outwitted me even as I wrote and I seriously worried heíd win. He still might. Iím working on a new seriesÖ And I totally skipped Lavinia, who is a very good character but easy to overlook at times.

I often joke that my favorite character is the one whose voice Iím writing in at the time, because I see the world through their perspective and want to relate it the best I can. I think Iíll leave my answer at that.

I understand you’re writing a sequel series to Rise of the Fifth Order. Could you tell us something about it?

I did just hint at that, didnít I? lol. Yes, Iím writing a new trilogy called Games of Fire that begins six months after Spirit of Life ends.

I really thought I was done with the characters and world of Myrrah when I finished Spirit of Life. I was working on my near future dystopian series Friends of my Enemy and was quite in love with the characters and story line despite no magic! But the characters from the Rise of the Fifth Order kept popping in my head. And with good reason. They might win, but not necessarily in the best circumstances for everyone.

Darag, Laireag, and Zhao are hurting from the death of Beite. The forest is in tatters. Sinika is being held prisoner in the same Temple housing the Sphere of Fire, Ria is trying to create a new affiliation out of the Church of Four Orders to include Spirit Elementals, which of course isnít going to be easy. There is a lot going on right there, but it wasnít a story and certainly not a trilogy, so I tried to ignore the voices in my head – at least theirs as they were making it hard to write about a non-magical near future war. I eventually had to confront them and demand they tell me a good story or shut up. Oh and they did. I think I totally missed the point of their world or what they started with the events in the Rise of the Fifth Order!

So yes, the story does start up again based on those little problems listed above. But it is really so much more, a deeper thread that goes all the way back to the beginning of the world of Myrrah and the first war. The spheres are just a part of it. Little clues that I didnít even know Iíd put into the Rise of the Fifth Order become incredibly important in Games of Fire.

Book 1, Spark of Defiance, is written. Iím starting book 2, the Fire of the Spheres and hope to finish that his fall. Book 3, as yet unnamed, will hopefully be written in the early winter while I edit book 1. I hope to release all three in 2016 with the first in the spring.

Well, I can’t wait until 2016!

What do you find most challenging about being a self-published author?

Finding the time for everything. I love, love, love to write. And I actually really like editing too. And I like to read and the marketing isnít too bad. But Iíd like to be more social on social media. And Iím taking a marketing course, but I havenít found the time to implement some of the suggestions. I feel like Iím holding myself back because there just isnít enough time to do it all. I have side projects like working on a non-fiction book on tips to writing better fantasy. And I want to offer author services like covers or character sketches or even CreateSpace formatting (which I oddly like doing now that Iíve finally learned how!). But ack, time! My 1 to 1 Ĺ hours of writing time a night has been squeezed to death and something has to give at some point soon. Thankfully winter is coming and I can curl up next to the woodstove and not feel so pulled to also want to spend time with family, hike, kayak, camp, motorcycle, etc. If I can figure out the bills and marketing, Iím going to try to become a full time writer or at least shift into a part time job. That is my goal and the only thing that makes the complete insanity of everything Iíve got going on right now seem worthwhile. Heck, this fall will also see the launch of Born of Water as an audio book with a really awesome narrator Jerry Villegas. Hearing something youíve written spoken by someone with an amazing voice and who is great a catching nuances is an experience every authors should have! But thank goodness most of the work is on his plate, because I would never be able to fit it in if I were the lead!

Being a self-published author and taking it seriously as a career often means you are running a full time writing/publishing job while working a full time job and juggling a family and life. It is hard. Things are going well enough that I am hoping to move more towards writing as my main career, but while Iím making that switch and getting all those pieces in place, it is really stressful to keep up with everything. And that kinda sucks.

That is amazing advice!

Last, do you have any advice for a new or aspiring author?

Three things: Take yourself and your work seriously, write more than one book, and if you are going to write a series write the whole thing first and then launch the books three to four months apart.

What I mean with take yourself seriously is to treat yourself like a serious author from day one, and that, I hope, means providing quality. Get your work edited. Get a good cover. Work on your novel until it shines. Donít throw a story up on Amazon and expect people to flock to it and love it and youíll be rich and famous. That rarely happens and the best chance of it occurring is if the packaging looks great and the product is unbelievably awesome. I totally thing being a self published author is worth all the effort, but it does take effort.

And the advice about writing more than one book is simple: you get so much better with each novel you write. Whether or not you publish them, keep writing. Your prose will get better, how you tell a story will get better. Reading is great, you can learn from that, but there is nothing better than practice. Practice writing a lot!

And the last advice on launching a series of books back to back is because it is the best way to build a fan base. In todayís day and age, no one wants to wait more than a year for the next novel. I saw my sales jump when the Rise of the Fifth Order series ended because all the books were available. People who love epic fantasy love to read and most people go through all three books in less than a week. It took me more than three years to write. That just doesnít work out well. So if you want writing to be more than a hobby, if you want a career, get all those books lined up, edited, and ready to go and launch them all within a few months. Heck, put book 2 and 3 out on pre-order at the same time you release book 1 if you can. Let people know you are serious about being an author and providing a complete tale that will rivet them.

And I guess one last piece of advice that goes along with that: if you want to make this a career, keep a writing schedule or writing goals. You should write or edit every day, even the lack of inspiration days when the writing feels horrible. Work isnít always fun, but writing is more often than not thankfully. But if you want to have fans you have to commit to creating fresh material every year. So get writing!

Now that we’ve gotten to know the amazing Autumn Brit, you can find out more information about her amazing books!

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Autumn is a best selling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war – not all on the same series though! She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, the Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy will be released in full in 2015 and will be quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, she is working on a new epic fantasy trilogy, Games of Fire, set in the same world as the Rise of the Fifth Order. If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release the first book in 2015 too.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on twitter @Weifarer.

Interview: Poppy Reid

11853927_1654184644868390_889607995_nThis week, I had the pleasure to interview Poppy Reid. Despite us sharing a last name, I had never met Poppy before I joined twitter last year. She’s a great, supportive author and helped me out a lot by editing my short stories. She also wrote a really great fantasy book†The Blood of the Fallen

First, let’s get to know Poppy with some fun, quirky questions!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you.

I assume you mean books Iíd want to read, as opposed to huge tomes I can use to make a fire or island survival guides. Iíd probably take ĎOutcastí by Josephine Cox because I love the drama and romance. Another drama I love is Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. After those two Iíd probably be thoroughly depressed so Iíd have a fun book as a pick-me-up Ė probably ďIs it just me?Ē by Miranda Hart. Itís more of a biography than a novel, but itís so funny!

Yeah, the last thing you’d want is to be depressed while stranded on a desert island!

What animal best describes your personality?

Iíve never heard that question before! I suppose Iíd say a squirrel, because they hide their food to prepare for winter. Iím fairly decent at planning ahead.

If there was one place in the world you’d love to visit, where would it be?

There are hundreds of places I want to go. Right now my dream is to travel the world. Iíd love to visit New Zealand one day Ė go kayaking, skydiving and hiking on the gorgeous islands.

New Zealand is a beautiful place!

Are you a cat or dog person?

Definitely a dog person. I used to be scared of dogs as a kid but I love them now, I canít see one without squealing and wanting to pet it.

Right!

If you could have a dinner with one historical person, who would it be?

Probably Martin Luther King. He was a great inspiration to many.

Now that we got the fun questions out of the way, let’s get down to the brass tacks!

Besides writing, what are you passionate about?

Travelling. Itís my dream to travel the whole world, working, earning and writing as I go. I might start next year!

Good luck with that! I could never do that, I would get too stressed about the details!

†What drew you to the craft of writing?

Iíve been writing since I was a little kid. If it rained when I was at school and we couldnít play outside, Iíd be curled up in a corner writing a story. When I got my first computer (a huge, heavy old thing without internet that used to belong to my mum), Iíd sit in my room for hours and hours working on the Fire Princess series (which unfortunately got lost after we moved house). Iíve always written, and always enjoyed it.

When writing a novel, are you a detailed planer or do you fly by the seats of your pants?

I have pages and pages of notes, comments and highlights on my computer. Sometimes I come across an ancient version of a book Iíd written and laugh at the old Ė and sometimes terrible Ė ideas Iíve had. I donít plan every little detail but the basic story, notes on characters and a timeline is on a separate document as a reference.

I have a hard drive full of stuff I wrote back in the late nineties when I was in high school. It’s dreadfully hilarious.

Your novel Blood of the Fallen is a sword-and-sorcery Fantasy. What is your favorite part about writing Fantasy?

I absolutely adore fantasy. Itís completely limitless. You can create an entirely new universe with its own rules, its own hierarchy, its own laws. You can control the magical elements, the weaponry, the creatures and the people. Fantasy is definitely my favourite genre for those reasons.

I think we’re on the same page!

Inspiration is such a fascinating phenomenon. Where did the inspiration for the Blood of the Fallen come from?

Iíve always been kind of a hopeless romantic, enjoying romantic books and movies. I always wanted to create something like that but didnít fancy focusing on just a romance book. Since I love fantasy, I created the world of Theldiniya and developed the relationship between two people whose love could never be accepted by others Ė something I experienced when I was younger, and wanted to incorporate into my first book.

What has been the biggest obstacle you faced when you self-published your novel Blood of the Fallen?

Formatting! I didnít enjoy having to sort out the front cover, page numbers, page size, etc. It was a massive pain in the butt.

Oh, yes. The joy of formatting. I’ve only had to do shorts, I can only imagine an entire novel.

I understand you are living abroad in Japan. What is it like to live and work in a foreign country?

If you enjoy being considered exotic, working in Japan is a lot of fun, if a little challenging at times. Once youíre over the homesickness and craving your countryís food (it took six months to stop fantasizing over sausage rolls) you start to get used to it and really feel at home. Japan is a great country in many ways Ė itís safe, clean, the people are polite and itís an entirely different culture. I did get a little culture shock when going back to England for a week, though Ė I forgot to tip the taxi driver (tipping isnít done in Japan) and felt really bad about it afterwards.

I’ve always wanted to return to Japan, well Okinawa. I was there at a really young age, too young to remember it outside of my parent’s home videos.

Last, do you have any advice for a new or aspiring author?

First of all Ė write every day! Even if itís nothing to do with a project youíre working on. Read a lot, especially friendsí and acquaintancesí work. Enjoy what you do Ė donít think of it just as a way to make extra money. Get people to read your work and take criticism well. I actually wrote a small piece on being a writer on my blog which answers this question. Click here to check out Poppy’s Article!

Yes. Learning to take criticism is important. We are usually blind to the faults in our work until someone points them out.

Now that we’ve gotten to know Poppy a little bit, let’s check out an excerpt from her novel, Blood of the Fallen.

A1c9ZO68mEL._SL1500_Theldiniya has been torn apart by two hundred gruelling years of war, both sides forsaken by their ancient gods. One last desperate strike by the Tyrans has prophesised doom for their people, yet, undeterred by the Seerís cataclysmic predictions, a clan of Tyran warriors have moved east to attack a small Elven village. The Seer turns to Villid, his last true friend, in hopes that he will help protect the Elf Seer and save the Tyran people. When Villid is framed for a crime he didnít commit he finds an unexpected ally in Aya, an Elf girl, forcing them to rely on each other to survive. In such turbulent times an unlikely friendship is formed between those who once would have been enemies…

ďYou like that one?Ē Shade suddenly hissed. ďThe one in green? You want her, do you, Tyran?Ē

Villid didnít respond. He glanced round. The Tyrans had now completely surrounded the square, well-hidden in the shadows, waiting for the order to attack. Here and there he thought he saw the hilt of a sword, or a movement from one of the soldiers. The Elves round the tables, however, were oblivious to their hunters. Villid could see women and children sitting, eating, clapping and smiling at the beautiful dancers in the middle. He didnít like this at all. Battles and arenas were one thing, but the slaughtering of the innocent?

The music had reached its climax and was starting to slow down, and then the dancers were entwined round each other, their arms outstretched, still and silent, smiling down at the crowd. All too soon their performance had ended. Villid knew it Ė the moment would come any second.

ďShade,Ē he whispered desperately. ďWe… we shouldnít…Ē

ďI tire of this,Ē Shade interrupted, as several of the Elves started to get to their feet and applaud the dancers. ďThis is it. So what was the one you wanted, six-one-twenty-seven? That one in green?Ē and he took aim with a long, sharp dagger from his belt.

It was like an instinct. Villid slammed as hard as he could into Shadeís shoulder, throwing him off his aim. The blade cut through the air as fast as lightning…Ē

If you want to read more (and you should, Blood of the Fallen is a great read!), you can pick it up from Amazon and Amazon UK!

Poppy Reid was born in Wick, Scotland and grew up in various parts of England before going to York St. John University to study Linguistics. She now resides in Nagano, Japan and works as an English teacher. Poppy adores writing, and has written several books and a numerous amount of short stories and informative articles online.