Tag Archives: Fantasy

Interview with Steve Searls, Author of My Travels with a Dead Man

Pre-order link:  https://www.amazon.com/Travels-Dead-Man-Steve-Searls-ebook/dp/B089MWWBHZ

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Steve Searls, author of My Travels with a Dead Man.

Please enjoy!

Best,

Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?

Steve Searls. I currently live in western New York State.  I was born in North Carolina, however, and then moved to Colorado when I was seven. I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Law, respectively.           

My wife and I moved to New York State in 1988.

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?

   “My Travels With a Dead Man” is a multi-genre literary novel that that blends magical realism, fantasy, alternate realities, romance, mystery and suspense in the coming of age story of the main protagonist, Jane Takako Wolfshiem.

3) What is the book about? 

            Jane is a naïve young woman of half-Japanese, half Jewish American ancestry who suffers a seizure and is saved by an enigmatic man calling himself Jorge Luis Borges, the same name as the esteemed Argentinean literary figure.  When next they meet, nearly two years later, Jane inexplicably falls passionately in love with Borges. Soon however, he reveals a dark side to his character that frightens and confuses her. After visiting the Daibutsu, a bronze statue of the Buddha in Kamakura, Japan, with Borges, a demonic figure she names “the man in black’ plagues her dreams with nightmares of a violent nature. These nightmares and Borges’ manipulative treatment of Jane nearly drive her mad, even as she learns from him that she has the power to travel through space and time to alternate realities. Jane also receives visitations from the ghost of Basho, the famous Japanese haiku master, and the Daibutsu who appears in Jane’s dreams. Both offer cryptic advice warning her about Borges. Borges’ violent and manipulative treatment cause Jane to fear him, but all attempts to break his control over her fail. Ultimately, Jane learns Borges’ is exploiting her powers to fulfill a dangerous prophecy, one she’s led to believe by Ulrikke, Borges’ mother, will result in Jane’s death and threaten humanity’s future. Unable to know who to trust, Jane must decipher the true nature of the prophecy so she can take action to prevent it from coming to pass.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

            I originally wrote a short story about a young woman who encounters a homeless man named Borges in 2013. At some point in late 2014, I began to expand the story into a novel. I didn’t work from an outline, but just let the characters dictate how the story developed. It was an organic process in the sense that each time I came to a dead end I would think of a new character to add to the novel, and more of the plot would reveal itself to me. At this time I was re-reading many of Jorge Luis Borges’ stories and Basho’s famous haibun (a combination of haiku and poetic prose developed in Medieval Japan), Oku no Hosomichi – often translated as The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  Both writers had a major influence on the story’s development.

5) How long did it take you to write it?

            It took me roughly 5 years to complete. During that time I was working on another novel, a multi-generational saga, but I stopped work on that book to focus my efforts on completing “My Travels With a Dead Man,” which I deemed would have a better chance at getting published as an unknown author.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

            Quite a lot. I learned how to better hone my craft in order to write a compelling story that would interest publishers to take a chance on a first time writer. And my research into various subjects, including Buddhism, Norse mythology and the history of the Vikings, and the works of Borges and Basho, all proved invaluable in developing the major themes of my book.

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?

            Yes, I have an Author’s Facebook page. It’s Steve Searls, Author at https://www.facebook.com/SteveSearlsAuthor.  My website, also named “Steve Searls, Author,” includes a blog of my longer form essays, along with pages devoted to some of my short fiction and poetry. The link to the website is here: http://www.stevesearls.com/.

            At this time, I don’t have a video, nor do I plan to hire someone to make one. That’s not because I dislike book videos, but I made the decision to use my limited marketing budget in other areas.

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 

            As a debut author, I’m still learning as I go, but if I had one piece of advice, I would say, be persistent.  

The only other thing I’d add is don’t use too many adverbs.

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

            I’ll read almost anything, from all genres of fiction and non-fiction, having been a bookworm since I was a young child.  I am constantly checking out new authors, and have reviewed a number of the books from authors old and new.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? 

            I’ve had a number of favorite books over my lifetime. It’s impossible to limit myself to just one book. Here are a few fiction titles I’d recommend:

“Collected Short Stories” by Hemingway

“As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner

“The Stranger: by Albert Camus

“Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien

“Dune” by Frank Herbert

“The Man in the High Castle” by Phillip K. Dick

“Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier

“The Rings of Saturn” by W. G. Sebald

“2666” by Roberto Bolano

“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles” by Haruki Murakami

“The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood

“Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy

“The Broken Earth Trilogy” by N.K. Jemisin

“The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. LeGuin

“House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski

As to why? Because they are all fabulous reads.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

            I’ve had dogs as pets in the past, but not at present.  Regrettably, I cannot be around cats, as I am deathly allergic to them. And by deathly, I mean I need an epipen handy at all times, because they caused anaphylactic shock that required me to rush to the hospital one time when I was visiting an aunt who has several cats.

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

            I own a Kindle. Most books I buy these days are e-books because I own so many print books I’ve run out of space to put them all. For the present, my Kindle meets my needs.

_____

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Interview with Sophie Jupillat Posey, Author of The Four Suitors

Hello,

We have a second interview today. It is with Sophie Jupillat Posey, author of The Four Suitors.

Please see it below.

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

 

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
I am Sophie Jupillat Posey and I live in Florida.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The Four Suitors. It’s a medieval mystery/romance fantasy for young adults.
3) What is the book about?
It’s about a spoiled brat of a princess who gets roped into being courted by 4 suitors chosen by her parents. She must do so, or she won’t get the crown. There’s an artist, astronomer, philosopher and necromancer. She balks against their teachings. But as she does so, she finds that her kingdom is falling apart. Has been falling apart for a while and it’s accelerating. The newest debacle is the increase of deaths in the peasantry. She needs all of her suitors’ help to uncover who is behind the rising deaths of her citizens.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I came up with the idea after talking with my husband about my adopted mother; who always bragged about how many boyfriends she had when she was younger. Four at a given time to be precise. Suddenly an image of a spoiled princess with 4 suitors came to my mind. From there, I knew I wanted to craft a mystery and a way for the character to redeem herself gradually. The rest filled itself in as I wrote.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
It took 2 years to write and 1 additional year to re-edit.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
This story started as a novella. I was satisfied with it, but felt I could add more. Several months later I did add more and made it a full novel. I learned that writing novels is hard but thrilling; I’d only ever written novellas and short stories up to that point. And that editing is just as important as getting the story down.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Success tips: my most important tip would to never give up; it’s cliché but it’s true. There will be plenty of inner and outer obstacles you face as a  writer. There are many excuses to give up writing. But it is much more fulfilling to plod on and finish that book. And also to let a project sit for as long as it needs. Too many people are so impatient to publish they skip crucial steps. Time is important, because you can better see errors whether they are grammar ones, or plot holes.
I was fortunate to have my work edited by David Curran, a friend of mine and former journalist. His eagle eyes spotted more than one error others and myself had missed. IndieDesignz made my cover art and I love it. She is my go-to designer.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and paranormal works for young adults or adults.I also sometimes enjoy horror, if it’s more cerebral. Not a fan of gore. I enjoy poetry too but am very picky about which kind. I am open to reading new authors when I have time. I am currently a part-time student, a full-time teacher, a composer and a writer. It’s not something I can do on a regular basis but I’d be willing to do it every so often.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
That’s a really hard question: I have so many. I would say my favorite is Ivanhoe. It made me fall in love with medieval era stories from a very young age. The romance, the adventure, the disenfranchised main character, the strength of the women in the novel, the style… It was all stuff I hoped to one day be able to write, in my own way.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
Currently none. But growing up, my family had 5 cats, 1 dog, 2 turtles and 1 bird. Later on we had 2 ferrets, 2 rabbits and we even fostered 5 raccoons.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
Nope. I borrow my husband’s if he gets a digital story. I’m more of a hardcopy girl. 
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Interview with Thomas M. Kane, Author of The Witches of Crannock Dale

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Thomas M. Kane, author of The Witches of Crannock Dale.

Please see below.

Best,

-Vince

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?

Thomas M. Kane. Maine.

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?

The Witches of Crannock Dale. Fantasy.

3) What is the book about?

It starts when an eleven-year old girl named Mara Bennett hears the church bells ring on the wrong day. She knows that’s supposed to be a warning that her country has been invaded. Then the knights that are supposed to be protecting her village arrest her aunt for witchcraft. Suddenly, she doesn’t know what’s really happening or who to trust. She’s determined to protect the people she cares about, she’s determined to save her aunt, and she feels as if she has to do it all by herself.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

When I was little, my mother told me the story of the Trojan Horse. She also told me that there was a Trojan girl named Cassandra who saw through the trick. I thought Cassandra seemed like a neat person, and when I became interested in writing, I decided to write about a character like her.

5) How long did it take you to write it?

I had been thinking about the idea for nearly forty years. It took me a few months to write the first two or three chapters. Then I found a helpful writers’ group, and with that inspiration, I wrote the other twenty-three chapters in a few months more.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

Absolutely! Most recently, I’ve been learning a lot about how artists and designers work. Artist Robin M. Birrell has painted a cover that captures a lot of my favorite details from the book and done some interior illustrations as well. Tallulah van der Made has been turning Robin’s work into a finished cover. I am impressed with their work and grateful to have met both of them.

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?

Yes! My website is www.thomasmkane.com. I post stories and articles there two or three times a month. I’m also active on Facebook (@thomasmkaneauthor), Twitter (thomasmkane11) and Goodreads.

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?

The first tip that comes to mind is, if you know what you want to write, write it! I strongly recommend the artists I mentioned above. Chrissy Cutting at Fiverr did a highly professional job editing my work and I deeply appreciate Glenn Sarco of Sarco Press’s work formatting the text.

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

I read practically all genres and review honestly.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?

The Lord of the Rings towers (ahem) over my writing life, but the book which inspires me most these days is Ursula K. Le Guin’s TehanuTehanu explores its characters’ inner lives and family relationships in powerful and thought-provoking ways.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

My only “pets” at the moment are the wild creatures who live in the woods around my house – but anyone who reads Witches of Crannock Dale will see that I have had some wonderful cats in my life in the past.

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

I read e-books on my laptop. That works well for me now – bu I have had good experiences with Kindles.

 

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Interview with C.L. Mannarino, Author of Singers of Atlantis

Today we have another author interview, this time with CL Mannarino about the book Singers of Atlantis.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My name is C.L. Mannarino, and I’m from Massachusetts.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
My newest book is called SINGERS OF ATLANTIS, and it’s the sequel to my teen romantic fantasy story called SWANS OF ATLANTIS.
3) What is the book about?

For the first time since she returned to the vacation town of Atlantis, Kat hates the magic of soul mates. They’re complicated. They take a while to find. And they’re not even all you hoped they would be. She wants nothing more to do with them.

But when she and her childhood crush, Matt Michaels, find out that he has a week to fix his severed soul, or be considered incurable, she wants nothing more than to find the girl who started all this, and demand of her that she fix it.

Except now, that girl has gone missing, and not even the ones who know her best can find her. To make matters worse, she’s also been ingesting the same poison that’s hurting Matt’s soul. By the time they find her, it might be too late for her to do anything.

Will she and Matt be able to find the girl in time? Or will the history between the girl and Matt only get in the way of their finding a healing solution?

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
After I finished SWANS OF ATLANTIS, I wanted to know what happened next. When I started drafting, I looked at all the questions I hadn’t answered in book one, and did my best to find answers.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
Even though I knew what was going to happen pretty early on, it still took me over a year to get the story in writing.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Every book is different from every book you’ve written before. Sometimes, a story just takes more time.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
I do! My author website is clmannarino.com
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
A tip would be to just not quit. Even if you have to go slower than everyone else, as long as you keep writing, you’ll do well.
For editors, I’d recommend Susan Bischoff of Forge Book Finishers, and Sara Kocek of Yellow Bird Editors. They’re smart, insightful women who really know their stuff.
For artists, I adore Najla Qamber Designs, as well as OkayCreations. They both do beautiful, stunning work!
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I love fantasy, and I’m always interested in reading something new.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
Ella Enchanted, which has held up as a wonderful story ever since it first came out. I still love all the characters, and I still find myself getting lost in the kingdom of Frell, both of which I consider the hallmarks of a great book.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
My family has cats and dogs alike.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

I have a Kindle, and it’s fantastic!

 

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Interview with Bryant Reil, Author of Elf Doubt

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Bryant Reil, author of Elf Doubt.

Please enjoy!

Best

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Bryant Reil, and I live in BC, Canada.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The most recent book is Elf Doubt (Book 2 of Elf Mastery). It is a YA Fantasy and sequel to Elf Mastery. I am currently writing the third and final book, Elf Righteous.
3) What is the book about?
Elf Doubt follows the aftermath of Elf Mastery (in which Kyla Nim stopped Erebus, god of darkness, from eliminating all light from the world.) The World of Order is fracturing from political upheaval and rebellion. Kyla Nim, on her way to inform the King and Queen of Erebus’ defeat, is met by a mysterious patron who sends her on a series of dangerous quests. The revelation as to her patron’s identity, her frustration with Queen Titania, and her own personal tragedy sends Kyla into a spiral of doubt. As the government faces world-changing internal threats, Kyla’s safety and reputation suffer in the turmoil, and she finds herself on the wrong end of higher powers.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I initially came up with the setting: our modern world, but nature and science are the results of work by fairies and mythical creatures. However, I wanted a character-driven rather than setting-driven story, so I came up with Kyla Nim, essentially a naive small-town girl with little experience or knowledge of the world at large. Though she begins the first book naive and a bit ignorant, her willingness to tackle problems head-on quickly gains her wisdom and experience. My focus in this trilogy is her character development.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
Each book has taken 2 years. In my defense, this was done in conjunction with work and going back to school for a Master’s.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
I learned a tremendous lot. First, I did a lot of research regarding the mythical beings in the story (such as curupira, ciguapa, etc). I honed my writing skills, as would be expected, but also learned to format for both ebooks and paperbacks. I learned a bit of marketing (still in progress). I learned to not only accept but actually appreciate criticism. I was initially a bit afraid of feedback from beta readers, for example, but learned to really appreciate it and take criticism as a way to improve my storytelling as opposed to taking it personally. I also learned (and am still learning) the value of a disciplined long-term mindset. Writing a book means committing to writing things down, even if I’m going to delete the later. Little by little, the book will eventually be finished.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Yes, I blog at www.elfmastery.com. I do not yet have the editing wherewithall to make a book video. 


8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Success tips? Not yet. My proudest moment so far is that Piers Anthony reviewed my books for his newsletter. All I had to do was ask. So, don’t be shy to put yourself out there. And don’t be afraid of rejection either! That paralyzes people into never getting anything done.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
Fiction-wise I prefer fantasy/sci-fi, but I’ve also read and enjoyed a lot of classical fiction (ie. Paradise Lost, Shakespeare, classical myths, etc). I like some non-fiction, but don’t read a ton. House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout was a life-changer for me. I like history but not usually historical fiction. I also read science magazines and journals, even if I don’t always understand them. I have a journal written by cognitive psychologists about literature and it’s amazing.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
Tough. The books that have impacted me the most growing up were probably The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. However, I don’t know if I loved them the most at my age. I like Terry Pratchett. His world-building and characters are a lot of fun. Again, House in the Sky affected me on an emotional level more than most books I’ve read.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
I do not. I had a Siamese cat when I was young. If I were to get a pet now, I think I’d like a turtle. Or a platypus, but that’s just dreaming.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
No. I don’t even have a smartphone. I prefer reading on paper, or audiobooks for long drives.

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