Tuesday, August 28, 2012

10 Questions with YA Writer Rose Garcia (@RoseOnProse)

This Author Spotlight features YA writer Rose Garcia, author of Final Life.

Rose Garcia is a lawyer turned writer who’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. From a very young age, she often had her nose buried in books about other worlds, fantastical creatures, and life-and-death situations. More recently, she’s been intrigued by a blend of science fiction and reality, and the idea that some supernatural events are, indeed, very real. Fueled by her imagination, she created The Transhuman Chronicles—a series of books about people who have overcome human limitations. The first in this series is Final Life. Between juggling a busy life with her husband and two kids and frequent visits to the beach, Rose is hard at work on the companion to Final Life.

1. How did you get into writing?
Writing is something I’ve always wanted to do. However, I wasn’t raised in a reading or writing family, and so my love of writing turned into a private hobby. Later, I took my talents and went to law school. While I enjoyed the practice, I didn’t love it. My heart kept pulling me to writing. Finally, with the encouragement of my husband, I took the plunge and started writing.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
To me, writing is the ultimate expression of creativity. I love the plotting, planning, imagining, character building, world building. What I like least about writing is sitting on my butt all day! I usually take my dogs on a four-mile jog before I start, otherwise I’d turn into Jabba the Hut!
3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
I started writing as a pantser and quickly found that I needed to change. Now I follow a method I learned from one of my writer friends, Lynn Lorenz. (Sidebar: writers need writer friends for advice and to find critique partners.) Lynn organizes her writing by chapters and scenes—two scenes for each chapter. This method works great for me.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
I don’t limit myself to any one genre or age group. That being said, I’m a huge fan of David Anthony Durham. He’s a master at character development and world building. I’m also a huge fan of the tension created by Stephen King and the quick pacing and excitement of Rick Riordan. I also love Terry Goodkind for his relationship building and strong female characters.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Outside, but don’t ask me to explain why!

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I still recall being taught that you didn’t need that last comma before the word ‘and’ when listing. Now editors and publishers say you do. But is it really necessary? I think not!

7. What is your book Final Life about and how did it come to fruition?
Final Life is about a seventeen-year-old girl who’s been killed in each of her past lives. Now on her final life, she must discover the secrets of her past before confronting the Transhuman hunter who wants to kill her for the last time. When I started writing Final Life, I knew I wanted to write about the supernatural in a real world setting. One idea led to another, and the story took off by itself.  

8. What’s your current writing project?
I’m hard at work on the sequel to Final Life. Plus, I’ve got a ton of ideas on the back burner that I can’t wait to tackle!

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I recently read The Sacred Band, book three in David Anthony Durham’s Acacia trilogy. I’m almost finished with The Maze Runner by James Dashner. After that, I’m on to Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
Anything and everything! Movies, TV shows, songs, my kids—you name it! The sky is the limit!

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where readers can find you online and buy your book(s).

Thank you Ryan for reaching out to me on twitter (@roseonprose) and asking if I’d like to be interviewed! For those out there interested in Final Life, please visit my website at www.rosegarciabooks.com. There you’ll find info on where you can get my book and how you can keep in touch with me. 

You're very welcome, Rose. Please let us know when the second installment in The Transhuman Chronicles is ready.

Be sure to visit Rose's website and buy a copy of Final Life today!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

10 Questions with Fantasy Author P.B. Dillon (@PBDillonAuthor)

This Author Spotlight features Fantasy author P.B. Dillon.

P.B. Dillon has known he wanted to be a writer since he was four - but got a little sidetracked along the way. In his working life, he has been a security guard, a shoe and handbag repairman, a call center worker and a clerk in a store, as well as a professional street performer with an hour-long juggling and magic act.

At forty (or so) now, he's too old for street performing any more, but still makes balloon animals when he's in the mood. He still has a day-job; he works in the web industry, making it easier for Google to find specific websites.

1. How did you get into writing?
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I watched a documentary on the process of creating a book. That was when I was four – but it wasn’t until I was nearly thirty that I figured out how to truly get into it.

I took a six-month course with a well-known short-story writer and novelist. After the course, I talked my way into a job writing copy for a web designer – and I learned at least as much on the job as I did in the course.

Since then, I’ve made my living putting sentences together. I still contract myself out, but I’m steadily increasing the proportion of my income I make from fiction.

One day I’ll be able to leave the day-job behind.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

What I like best about writing is the creative aspect. I write mostly fantasy, so for me I get to create not just people and settings, but also entire worlds, complete with whatever unusual laws (eg magic) that are needed to tell the story I want to tell.

And then I get to set my characters loose and watch what they do.

Whatever the result, I know I’m building something that has never been seen before. Sure, there might be stories that fit within the same general theme, but what I’m doing is unique – and if it weren’t for my direct efforts, that particular story wouldn’t exist.

What I like least about writing is never having enough time to indulge in it.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I outline, but it’s a rough outline that allows flexibility for my characters to express themselves. Sometimes this means I’ll get stuck and have to re-think.

When I have a story that has ripened enough, I like to just sit down and get it done. I won’t edit it or anything during this phase; I just want to tell the story straight through. That means sitting at my desk for as long as possible each day, typing. Typically, I’ll write about 2000 words, but have been able to write as many as 5000 when the story is moving well.

When it’s finished, I’ll go through and edit.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

One of my favorites is Stephen King. He gets it; both writing and story. Most times, he’ll have the balance about right.

Other writers I admire include David Gemmell, Stephen Donaldson, Dick Frances, and Alan Dean Foster. It’s just a shame that half of these writers are no longer alive.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

Outside. The meaning in the sentence is held outside the quotes, therefore the question mark should also be outside.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

Essential. The best example I’ve found of its importance is the sentence, “We invited the strippers, Oprah, and Hillary Clinton”. Without it, Oprah and Hillary Clinton become the strippers. With it, they were invited along with the strippers. Without the Oxford comma, it’s impossible to distinguish what is meant.

7. What is your book Mage-Wrought about and how did it come to fruition?

Mage-Wrought is a heroic fantasy novel I wrote as a kind of tribute to the late David Gemmell, who helped to revitalize the genre.

It’s the story of Lito, who is a construct made by Garvin, a powerful Mage (hence the title) to be little more than a fighting machine.

Lito’s purpose in life is to defend Tyrealla, Garvin’s daughter. It won’t be easy, because they’re about to be attacked by the Kelits, fierce warriors who paint themselves blue and file their teeth. Their leader is a Dark Mage who will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.

The Dark Mage seeks immortality – which he believes he can gain through the use of a jewel that just happens to form part of Tyrealla’s favorite necklace.

Added to this are the complications that Lord Cirovan believes Lito was made to protect him, Tyrealla treats him as if he were repulsive, and, because of how he came into being, Lito doubts that he qualifies as fully human.

It’s a novel in two parts (the sequel is called Urgitwoods), and it has been receiving five star reviews on Amazon – which I’m pretty happy about!

8. What’s your current writing project?

I’m writing a comedic fantasy series that’s just fun! It’s all about Gordan, who is a born troublemaker (as well as being part dragon) and his mad-cap adventures as he seeks the answers to the mystery of his own origins.

With the help of a drunken pixie and a part-orc (who is also a Seer), he stumbles into more trouble than he can easily deal with, and ends up with armies of humans, orcs and everything else on his tail.

Really good fun to write, and the feedback I’ve got so far (even though the first one hasn’t yet been published) is that they’re great fun to read as well. Which is just what a writer like me wants to hear.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Right now, I’m partway through a bunch of different books – but we’ve just moved house and are in the middle of some fairly extensive renovations, so I haven’t had time to really give any of them the attention they deserve.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?

I get my inspiration from stories, thoughts, or ideas. If I don’t have anything to write about, I’ll go watch a movie or read a book. Typically, something in it will start me thinking.

Sometimes those thoughts will turn into something compelling enough to write about.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

Thank you for the interview.

You can find out more about me and my books on my website: http://pbdillon.com

My books are available on Amazon here:

And you can connect with me on Twitter here:

You're welcome, P.B. Please visit with us again soon when your new comedic fantasy novel is ready.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

10 Questions with Horror Novelist Joseph Souza (@josephsouza3)

This Author Spotlight features award-winning horror novelist Joseph Souza.

Joseph worked on the South Boston docks during Whitey Bulger's criminal reign. He has a degree from Northeastern University and once worked in the Organized Crime division of the DEA. His award winning short fiction and essays have published in various literary journals throughout the country. In 2004 he was awarded the Andre Dubus Award in short fiction from the University of Southern Maine for his short story ‘Loss Prevention.’ His most recent short story, ‘The Devil's Dumping Ground’ was published in Quarry; Crime Stories by New England Writers. In 2010 Joseph Souza won Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award for his short crime story ‘The Stone Walls of Lebanon.’ The Reawakening is his debut horror novel and available on Amazon. Joseph lives in Portland, Maine with his wife and two children.

1. How did you get into writing?

I didn’t get into writing as much as writing got into me. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, feeling the need to tell these stories that are bubbling deep inside me. Of course I’m not the only one who feels this way. People throughout history have had this compulsion to pass on stories as a way to emphasize our humanity and build a moral, mythical construct to this chaotic world we humans have labeled as civilization. Being a writer is like being a mobster; you’re born into the life and there’s no getting out alive. 

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?

I love getting in the zone when I’m writing. It’s like playing basketball when you’re hitting every shot and from every angle. When you’re in the zone, the words and ideas flow without you even thinking about it. It’s almost as if a divine force is guiding your hand and you’re simply the facilitator of this wonderful creation. It’s a beautiful feeling.

The worst thing is when it’s not flowing and each word is like lifting a large boulder from one spot to another. That feeling just sucks!

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?

I have a family and kids and so I have trained myself in the Zen-like art of concentration. I can write in the middle of a fire with sirens blaring and people throwing rotten tomatoes at me while a full-on zombie apocalypse is occurring just outside the window. Technology has helped as well. I take my iPad everywhere and write anytime and anywhere I can, even if it’s for ten minutes between periods of my kid’s hockey game, or before the school play, or between innings of my other child’s softball game, maybe in the car while in transit. Two of my books were written almost entirely on my iPad during the chaos that is my life.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”

I love English writers, especially Martin Amis. His book ‘Money’ is one of the nastiest and funniest books ever. I love the early books of John Irving and Stephen King. “The White Trilogy” by Ken Bruen is a crime masterpiece as is ‘The Friend of Eddie Coyle’ by the late, brilliant George V. Higgins. Although my trilogy series takes place during a living dead apocalypse, I really love literary writers and those that have a special way with words.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?

Ahhh, that’s a very existential question to ask a writer. I think it all depends on the person writing that sentence and what their intent happens to be by asking it. When it is embodied inside the quote like that it takes on more of a Stephen Dedalus-like inner monologue with layers of depth and ulterior meanings. Like the novel ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce, it represents mystery and makes it unreadable to me. When it appears outside the quotes I think it is the writer trying to make a subtle statement and telling me that he or she is a political and artistic outcast from mainstream society and is seeking gainful employment, a hot meal, and maybe a bed for the night. Either way is cool though.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?

Ouch! Now you’ve got my blood pressure up. Let me state for the record that I am vehemently opposed to the Oxford Comma and feel that much of modern society’s ills have been caused by that vile punctuation mark, with its small but judgmental swoosh. Like Colonel Kurtz in ‘Apocalypse Now’ it speaks to me and says “You can kill me, but you have no right to judge me.’ It is a rigid little slash, and its goal is to break down the whole into its smaller components, and thus becomes a metaphor for the disintegration of society as a whole. I say “It takes an Oxford Comma to raze a sentence!” In my opinion that little Monarchical divider has caused wars, famine, and deadly pandemics. Apart from that, why should we allow stuffy Oxford to dictate how we categorize our items? This isn’t Masterpiece Theater. What has Oxford given us besides shoes, an uppity university, and a class-based comma? I predict that if the Oxford Comma is allowed to propagate and is not eradicated with extreme prejudice in our lifetime then we are doomed to witness the zombie apocalypse. And if you don’t believe me ask any librarian, English teacher, or refer to Strunk and White for that matter.

7. What is The Reawakening, The Living Dead Trilogy, Book I about and how did it come to fruition?

The entire trilogy came to me in a Eureka moment one day and I instantly began writing it soon after on my iPad. The novel came to me so quickly that without notes or an outline I had a working draft in one month. I’d never written horror before so this was a new genre to me. But I must say that I had immense fun writing it and feeling liberated from all convention.

8. What’s your current writing project?

Darpocalypse, The living Dead Trilogy, Book II is 99% done and should be published this fall. Currently, I am working on the third installment, doing research on pandemics and the Lakota Indian tribes in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m rereading ‘Black Flagged Redux’ by my amazingly talented author friend Steven Konkoly. This guy is the real deal and ripping up the Amazon charts for spy fiction. I’m a serial reader and so I’m also reading John Irving’s ‘In One Person’; Nathan Wolfe’s incredibly fascinating ‘The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age’; and ‘The Lakotas and The Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground’ by Jeffrey Ostler.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?

Many authors inspired my writing and writing style. Living in Maine, I've always loved the stories and novels of Stephen King. King's writing transcends the horror genre and what I like best about his novels is the way the develops characters, and forces them to interact in difficult situations. The early novels of John Irving also had an important influence on me. I love the way he tells a story and weaves characters in and out. The other major influence has been Martin Amis, and English writer. His dazzling use of the English Language and sense of humor still amaze me to this day. I also love Robert Parker, Ken Bruen and Margaret Atwood. Atwood's book Oryx and Crake is the best post-apocalyptic novel I've ever read.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc

If anyone is interested in learning more about my work, looking at the beautiful cover art of ‘The Reawakening’, or reading my bio, they can go to my website at www.josephsouza.net. They can also read reviews about ‘The Reawakening’, read an excerpt of the novel, and if they like the excerpt there is a link where they can purchase it on Amazon. Many of the reviews have commented on the originality of the novels and the high quality of the writing. I like to think that I bring both a unique take to the genre as well as a literary style that both transcends the genre and is appealing to a wide range of readers. In fact many of my fans have commented that they’ve never read a zombie-like book before. Dark River Press commented, “Souza has written a mind-bending tale of a zombie apocalypse that has turned the sub-genre upside down with his blood-soaked tale.” Indie Horror News added, “The Reawakening is an instant Indie classic.” I sincerely hope that anyone who likes the novel or has any questions contacts me and starts a dialogue.

Thank you very much for this fun interview and allowing me to talk about my novel The Reawakening.

You're welcome, Joseph. Please visit with us again as soon as Darpocalypse is published.

Be sure to visit Joseph's website JosephSouza.net and take a moment to check out his award-winning writing.