Yours Truly, 2095 – Brian Paone

“…Another action-filled adventure…”

 

I was sent Yours Truly, 2095 by Brian as a prize for winning a contest run on a Facebook page. That was January 2016. To my eternal shame, it has taken me two-and-a-half years to actually read this book. I regret that.

As a fan of sci-fi, the idea of a time-travel novel based on the ‘Time’ album by Electric Light Orchestra was ‘music to my ears.’ I started reading the book on a Monday evening and found by Tuesday I was already 200 pages in, a testament to how smooth and easy the story is to read. A lot of books are referred to as page-turners these days, and that is exactly what I’m going to say about Yours Truly. I was completely immersed in the story and totally invested in Jeff’s quest to get back to Julie in 1981, figuring out J0’s true personality, and being torn as torn as Jeff himself over who he should spend his eternity with.

The twists and turns of the final few chapters were amazing and unexpected. Brian did an amazing job with adapting ‘Time’ into an enticing and gripping novel. I was hooked right up until the end, which itself was very fitting.

This truly was ‘another action-filled adventure.’

Posted in book, novel, review, writing

Author Takeover – Gabriella Balcom

Today’s special guest (and final) on my page is Gabriella Balcom whose short, “Bobby—You’d Never Guess,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

My children mean a great deal to me, as do my grandchildren, and I shudder at the thought of living without them.

Also, quiet, alone time is very important to me, and I need it regularly. Not only does it keep me grounded, but it helps me unwind, think, function, and recharge.

2. What was the inspiration for your story?

My background is in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and I work in a mental health field. I’ve dealt with families that epitomize the word “troubled,” abusive parents, abused children, substance abusers, and people in all types of crisis situations. Along the way, I’ve encountered individuals who’ve survived terrible things, others who’ve done terrible things, and some who fall in both categories.

I wanted to write this story for more than one reason. My main character, Bobby, popped into my head one day. He became very real to me from the moment I thought of him, and I wanted to tell his story. The more I delved into his life, the more intrigued and blown away I was, not only because of his choices, but because of his past and the forces propelling him along. I’ve always been fascinated by people, the things they’ve experienced and endured, and how they’ve coped and moved forward. Some people have trouble dealing with things that might seem tiny to you or me. Others survive and even thrive in spite of the worst issues imaginable.

Working on my story, a time or two I pursued directions I thought would be interesting. However, I realized what I was writing seemed off or wrong somehow. If I let myself relax and didn’t worry about it, I felt myself being guided into other scenarios and revelations which felt right. Here, I refer back to my previous “blown away” comment. To be truthful, I couldn’t NOT write this story.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

My first wish would be for money, because I’d like to have and be able to do certain things. I’d love to build a home, have a lot of editing done, pay off certain things, travel, etcetera. For my second wish, I would like to go back in time and see certain events, both in my own life and others’ lives. I don’t know if I would undo or change any of the things I experienced, but I’d certainly think about it. As my third wish, I’d like to speak with specific people who’ve died, including my father, both of my grandmothers and grandfathers, their parents and others on my ancestral lines, Jesus, famous heroes and heroines, scientists, artists, philosophers, and many others.

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book (s) made you want to write?

Those are good questions, but I’m not sure. Reading has always been a part of my life. My mother taught me when I was very little, and I was crazy about books. I began writing when I was little also. To me, it seemed like a natural extension of reading, and they went hand-in-hand. I stopped writing for several years as an adult, because I was taking care of my children, working, and living. Inspiration and ideas “called” to me off and on, but I remained too busy to do more than pen a few work-related articles. I began writing again a few years ago, primarily as a catharsis, and couldn’t believe how badly I’d missed it. I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to write. Ideas and characters kept floating around in my mind, and I had to write.

As far as which books inspired me, I’ve read numerous books which are wonderful. I admire several authors’ works and would love to express myself as well as they do.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I like to be by myself in my room. I sit on my bed, sometimes with notes or prompts nearby, and typically have music playing low. I don’t usually outline. When I get an idea or envision characters and their lives, I almost always start writing. Sometimes I just know specific things beforehand that I want to include or believe will enhance a story. I write them down on notepaper paper or index cards and put them up or close to me where I can’t miss them. After I finish a story, I go back through and sometimes add elements. From the time I began creating “Bobby – You’d Never Guess” to when I finished totaled about three weeks, I think. I couldn’t write everything in one sitting, because I work full-time and sometimes do additional projects on the side. Therefore, I fit in chunks of time before and after work.

A little more information about my writing process is listed under Questions 7, 9, 13, and 15.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block,” how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

I don’t experience writer’s block much, or at least I haven’t yet. In fact, I often have the opposite problem, with several ideas coming to me at the same time, making it hard for me to concentrate and focus on one.

Sometimes, I’m worn out from work and stressful situations. When I feel blah or overwhelmed, or can’t focus, think clearly, or move forward, I do things to help myself unwind. I put music on, focus on the words or rhythm for enjoyment or distraction, and let my mind relax. Or, I don’t focus at all and just crank the volume up and let my thoughts sort of float. I use movies the same way: for enjoyment or distraction. Of course, they also work well as far as being a background noise to drown out other sounds that could distract me.

Other things I do to get in the mood, per se, include reading, scrapbooking, going outside, walking around, singing, driving around or sitting in my car with music playing, spending time on social media, or doing things with my family.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

When I began writing, I had no idea how my story would end, and only knew certain things about my main character’s life and choices. However, as I wrote, he and my other characters prompted and directed me. Certain revelations about them caught me completely off guard. The ending was a surprise to me, too.

I’ve written more about Bobby since my short story was published. Honestly, I say the same process occurred as I wrote my sequel. It also is full of things which surprised me and blew me away.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

I would like to see actors audition for the part of Bobby, and I’d like to have time to consider who would best play him. I can’t think of anyone right now who epitomizes him for me. The same holds true for some of the other characters in my story, and I’d want to see actresses audition also. I can imagine Kathy Bates or someone similar as Wilson, Mark Wahlberg as the adult Tim, and maybe Pierce Brosnan as Bobby’s grandfather.

As far as directors, I’m not sure. I’d have to think about it. I admire the work of several, including Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, George Lucas, Ron Howard, Michael Bay, Quentin Tarentino, Tim Burton, Lynne Ramsey, M. Night Shyamalan, Peter Jackson, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Chris Heyward, and the directors of the Harry Potter movies.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

My story developed well beyond my original idea, because I felt my characters leading me along. I only knew portions of my characters’ personalities and lives when I began; I didn’t have a complete beginning-to-end concept in mind. I would write some of the story, then go back and reread it frequently. As I did, I added extra elements that popped into my head. Some things were hints for readers, and some were to build suspense. Most of the additional things I added, however, were revelations that came to me, not things I “plotted.” Mr. T’s appearance is a good example. Mark’s method of coping is another. A third is how Bobby spoke to Mark’s mother.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

When the idea hit me, I wasn’t reading a book. I was writing while playing one movie after another. I’d seen parts of several: the Harry Potter set, The Sound of Music, the Lord of the Rings series, and one of the Tremors movies. As I saw the stories unfolding and watched favorite parts, I thought how wonderful it would be to write something that people loved, and to have a successful writing career.

At that point, I worked full time+ (still do), but dreamed of quitting someday (I do that still, too). I loved the idea of working out of my home, on my own schedule, and being successful at it. I thought of how much I loved books and reading. I believed I had some decent story ideas from time to time, and loved how I felt creating stories, improving them, and reading the finished versions. Portions of my stories shook and stunned me at times, and I wanted to make them even better and share them with others.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

Early in my story, killers were mentioned. I did some research on them, sadistic tendencies, and more, and figured if anyone knew about my search history, they’d question my mental health. LOL! I didn’t do any other research, because I was familiar with various other things portrayed in my story. For my sequel, though, I had to do research on several subjects.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

I’d choose a secluded cabin in the woods, surrounded by trees, with a lake and mountains or tall hills nearby. Preferably, it would be fall or spring. I can envision several possible locations which I’d love including sites within national forests in Texas or other states, the mountains of Utah or other mountainous places, and secluded locations within countries like Slovenia and Austria. I’d have a refrigerator well-stocked with food, including some which wouldn’t have to be cooked, and would only require warming. I’d want a good stove and oven for when I wanted to cook, and a microwave for when I didn’t, a good TV/DVD player, a huge selection of movies or series for when I wanted to unwind or relax, and an excellent sound system with numerous choices of music. I’d like a large, comfy bed, a nice tub to soak in, a fireplace, etcetera.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over the story or did you direct them?

Sometimes I identify with my characters or certain aspects of their personalities or lives. Other times I don’t but feel compassion for them and an understanding of where they’re coming from, at least a little. In Bobby’s situation, I empathized over some of the events he’s lived through and which affected him, At the same time, I felt shock and horror over other things. While I could understand and relate to certain hurting and lonely parts of him and others in my story, I didn’t identify at all with how my characters chose to act or react.

I feel I was allowed a peek into Bobby’s psyche and life, as though I literally looked through a window and watched, and/or heard his thoughts and felt his feelings. The same holds true for my other characters. They took over the story and directed me.

14. What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read over and over again?

I have many favorites which I love reading again and again: Lord of the Rings, C. L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul set, several of Thea Harrison, Luanne Rice, Kay Hooper, Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, Patricia Cornwell, Jonathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, Martha Grimes, and Carol O’Connell’s stories. I love Terry Brooks (Shannara books), Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth series), David Weber (Honor Harrington books and the Lt. Leary/Adele Mundy series), Frank Herbert (Dune series), Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey (Pern series), Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew books for youth, Ruth Chew’s stories for children, Wind in the Willows, the Circle of Light series, Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books, and many more.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

I’d say 98% of my writing is pantsed, with no outline in sight or mind. However, from time to time I’m prompted to include certain elements, scenes, dialogue, etc., and I’ll write notes or put things up to remind myself to add them. During that process, I’ll sometimes write A), B), C), a), b), etc.

Recently, I tried something brand new. I went to a writer’s conference, and a New York publisher did a class about developing character arcs. He said it was important to get to know our main character and supporting characters very well and demonstrated plotting specific important events on a time line. Our whole class took part in describing characters, events, etc. That evening when I got back to my hotel, I was motivated to begin a new story, using some of the presenter’s ideas. I listed all sorts of things on the spur of the moment, choosing my character’s age, looks, life, supporting “cast,” and certain problems. I did this without first being prompted or inspired about these people. In other words, I didn’t automatically feel I knew them. I was sort of “planning” them. When I began writing the actual story, I felt strange. My words seemed stilted and forced to some degree. I just didn’t feel as if I knew my protagonist as well as I normally did. I felt I had to get to know her over time. Once I stopped and really focused on her––in this case, my main character was a young girl––I began “feeling” her and as if I knew her. After that, the more I wrote about her, the more my comfort level increased until I felt I knew her as much as any of my other characters. The main difference was that my knowledge and comfort had to grow over time rather than existing from the beginning.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you-write foods? How do they help with your creative flow or process?

I skip meals at times. Sometimes I get too busy at work to stop or have other responsibilities I have to attend to first. At home, I might be worried about one thing or another, or I might be writing. Sometimes I get on a roll and feel inspired, and eating isn’t on my mind. Therefore, I try to keep certain foods around to munch on.

Almonds, blueberries, strawberries, and oranges are good brain food for me. They give me energy, keep my head from hurting, or make pain go away (I have low blood sugar). Mini-Hershey’s and plain M&Ms serve as a pick-me-up when I’m feeling tired or stressed. I love breakfast food, lasagna, tacos, garlic bread, and other things, but don’t always have the time or make the time to fix them.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

My first response is ‘LOL,’ because my writing doesn’t always follow a pattern, genre, or specific subject.

However, I will say that “Bobby – You’d Never Guess” is the first story I’ve written in journal format. Beyond that, my writing ranges all over the place. I may write about abuse, magic second, and then about a fantasy creature in a children’s story. Or, I might focus on horror, romance, sci-fi, memoir-type things, or back to one of the others. Some of my stories have longer, flowing sentences, whereas others feature a shorter, blunter style. I don’t usually plan that. It just depends on the story, my mood, how much sleep.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – Brian Paone

Today, author Brian Paone takes over my page, whose short, “Two Gunslingers,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what he had to say about life, writing, and his story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?

Music. Music drives almost every minute of the day for me. And 80% of what I write is considered rock fiction, which means it’s a novelization or adaptation of a song or album. Music is on probably 20 hours a day in my house and 100% of the time in the car.

2. What was the inspiration for your story?

“Two Gunslingers” is a rock-fiction adaptation of Tom Petty & The Heartbreaker’s song of the same name.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

A 1983 DeLorean, that #14 allows for more than 1 answer, and for Pink Floyd to reunite.

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

I wanted to become an author because of reading. Stephen King has been my favorite author since 1989, when I read The Dark Half. But before that, I was really into HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe and other “classics.” I wrote my first story in 1988 and always wanted to be a writer, but it was discovering King a year later when I just knew unabashedly that’s what I was going to do.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I got my own office in 2015 when we moved from Japan to North Carolina, so everything I have written from 2015 onward was written in there. Prior to that, I wrote in our tatami room in Japan, our living room in Georgia, or my bedroom in Massachusetts. Music has been playing for every moment of my writing career. Sometimes I stop typing in-between songs because even that one second of silence disrupts me. I also outline in an every-other way: I outline A, C, E, F and then pants B, D, G.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writer’s block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

I have the opposite problem. I have too many ideas. I suffer from writer’s diarrhea.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

Yes, because the song has a definitive ending to its story. The last verse alludes to what happened to the two gunslingers at the high-noon duel.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

Sam Elliott would play the shady barkeep, Jason Bateman would play the lead gunslinger, and Emilio Estevez would play the secondary one. Rose Byrne would be the female in the audience, just so I could meet her. I would direct it, duh!

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

I had never tried to write a western before. Ever. In fact, I’m not really a big fan of the genre as a whole. But that song just wouldn’t go away when I was brainstorming for my source material. I was originally going to adapt Live’s “Rattlesnake,” but it seemed every time I put my music collection on Shuffle, there was Tom Petty again, singing about these two gunslingers who make a crucial decision at a crucial moment during a duel. Then I would find myself singing the song in the shower. It was like the song picked me this time. So I didn’t really have an “original concept,” it all just poured out of me when I made the decision to adapt “Two Gunslingers.”

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

Stephen King’s Night Shift. My second published novel—my “horror” novel, if you will—Welcome to Parkview is a collection of vignettes disguised as a novel, and even though the official statement from me will always be that Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” was the main influence, I can’t help but feel King’s Night Shift and Skeleton Crew collections weren’t the driving force in the manner in which I assembled the novel the way I did.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

Yes. I knew nothing about cowboys or horses. Thankfully, there still seems to be people who believe cowboys and horses are real, so there is a lot of info on the internet about these magical and mythical creatures.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

In a bar where everyone knows each other, like Cheers, with my laptop at the counter and I get to pick the entire playlist for the night.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

I have never been a cowboy, a horse, or a barkeep. Maybe that’s what I’ll be this year for Halloween. And even though my story is an adaptation of song lyrics that are marginally specific, they did seem to take over at one point and dictate a lot of their actions and dialogue, partner.

14. What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

Just one? I’m gonna go change my answer to that genie question and ask that #14 allows more than one answer … hold on …

Okay, back. Now that I fixed that, here is a shortened list: The Bell Jar, Great Gatsby, Les Miserables, Virgin Suicides, Pillars of the Earth, Clan of the Cave Bear, Imajica, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, The Witching Hour, and all 73 Stephen King books.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

Like I said before, I outline major spots I need my characters to reach and then pants everything in between.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

Raw broccoli and cauliflower with ranch dressing. Then a celebratory taco.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

“Two Gunslingers” is a western. I have never even come close to writing a western before. Plus nothing “unearthly” happens; as a speculative fiction author, even my rock fiction stuff always has something that just sits a tad over the line of reality, even when it’s steeped in pure drama, whether it’s paranormal, supernatural, or just “David Lynchian”, I always tend to put a glimpse of Oz somewhere in my stories and novels. “Two Gunslingers” is a western and doesn’t deviate.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, Published Author, Short story, writer

Author Takeover – Sheena Robin Harris

Today, author Sheena Robin Harris takes over my page, whose short, “Technical Jargon,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?

My family. They are the stitches that hold me together, and they give meaning to every breath.

2. What was your inspiration for your story?

This story was purely inspired by the contract theme of ACOW. I wish I had a sparkly explanation involving my own bad plumber experience, but nope. Just the theme itself got me thinking about common contracts, and “Technical Jargon” just kinda happened from there.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

I’d be willing to bet 99% of the population has spent some time pondering this exact question. It’s funny, though. When you’re a kid, you carefully but quickly spout off the three things you want the most (cotton candy clouds, flying abilities, that sort of thing). As an adult, this question is one you carefully analyze as you fall asleep. Then, if you’re a critical thinker, this silly question gets all complicated. You see, one of my wishes would have to be that all of those I love could also have three wishes. BUT, what would happen if someone else’s three wishes conflicted with mine? Like, what if someone wished for all the money in the world and I did too? Plot twist! What happens then? Obviously, time and Earth would come to a screeching halt and we would all die.

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

Totally. I think the first time a book made me cry, that did it. It was The Velveteen Rabbit, of course, but as a really small kid, I thought: Wow. That story made me feel. I want to do that to people with words too. There were many others after that, and there are still many now. Reading a good book proves over and over to me why I want to write just like it did back then.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I’m lucky enough to have an office with a door where I can hide away in my own little world, music on, writing away when I need to. But I prefer to write outside, surrounded by the fresh air and peaceful country views—and the many cows and chickens. I’m a pantser, but I’ll often think on a story, a paragraph, or idea for a long time before I ever start writing.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writer’s block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

I don’t think I really have ever suffered from the trademark writer’s block so many others talk about. I do run into brick walls at times. These are easy enough to overcome for me by switching over to another scene or another piece of work temporarily. My biggest problem is I get bored with ideas easily, so I have to really push to maintain focus to bring something long to completion without leaving it somewhere in the dark.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

I did not. I knew what I wanted to take place between John and Ted, and I knew there’d be a major twist at the end, but I didn’t yet have the ending pinned down when I started. Somewhere in there, the ending came to me, so I jumped to there and finished it out, going back to fill in the middle afterward.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

Ted the Plumber would be such an easy pick; John Goodman. Just who I was picturing while I wrote that character, right down to his crude mannerisms and certain way he is capable of a creep factor like in 10 Cloverfield Lane. John Cross would be a little harder to cast. Perhaps James Franco or Matt Damon could do—someone with a good smirk and probably a little snarky.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

My concept pretty much stayed the same throughout. I knew what I wanted the main character to experience and feel. I knew what I wanted to take place. The only real change I made was going back through to inject a few bits of humor that may have been lacking when I was finished with the first draft.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

When I first started seriously writing as a kid, horror was my thing. I believe that was in part from reading so much R.L. Stine, Mary Downing Hahn, and Stephen King’s short horror stories in books like Nightmares and Dreamscapes. I really did read them and think I could do the same.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

I did have to figure out what genre of music people would find the most unsettling/annoying/frustrating if they had to listen to it, really loudly, for a long period. I knew my answer would be holiday music—not that I have something against cheerful bells, rosy lyrics, and chorused voices, or maybe I do. Anyway, several years ago as a retail employee, holiday music hit about November and played on repeat for damn near two months non-stop. (If you’ve ever experienced a rude retail employee during the holidays, please, consider this could be partially to blame.) Knowing my own opinion could be biased, I asked the wonderful folks of the Facebook Fiction Writing group. Luckily, I’m not just a Grinch, as MANY people had the same answer.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

Atop the cold crushed souls of all my haters, of course. Where else? (Kidding) I don’t know that I have haters, at least not ones I would like to see with crushed souls. I always thought it’d be cool to sit beside the sea and write. Not like those serene coastal areas where it’s quiet; those loud and angry ocean shores with waves crashing against stern rocks and cliffs.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

I’ve never felt comfortable about service people being in the house. It’s just weird. I guess having a handy husband has helped contribute to that since I never really need any “professional” to fix anything. So I can relate to my main character who feels the same, and I can definitely relate to the fear he experiences throughout the story. Anyone would be a little freaked out.

My characters aren’t really inspired by anyone in particular. Bits and pieces come together to create new personalities I suppose. Characters always take on a life of their own for me almost immediately. Yes, I write them, but once I get them in my head, I can hear their voices, see what they will do next. Sometimes, what they want to say and do is surprising, though.

14. What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

That is a really tough question. One of the first full-length novels I read was Heaven by V.C. Andrews, and that one will always hold a spot for me, so I guess that’s a favorite of sorts. However, I can’t pick just one. There are many that are favorites for different reasons.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

Total pantser here. Can’t do a proper outline to save my life.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

Not much of a snacker I don’t suppose. I do love gummy lifesavers though. Way better than gummy bears!

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

“Technical Jargon” leans on the side of comedy, and no matter what I usually write, it tends to be more on the dramatic side. This story came out of me fast and is so far from my usual style that I honestly thought it was a long shot. Writing comedy, for me, is challenging—it’s difficult to tell whether what I think is funny is actually funny or just what others would see as me trying to be funny unsuccessfully. I guess I did succeed but was totally surprised with the acceptance and have been surprised with reader’s reactions as well. Kudos to anyone who writes humorous pieces all the time. You have my respect.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, book, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – S. Lyle Lunt

(Sorry this post is a day late. But better than never as they say.)

Today’s special guest on my page is S. Lyle Lunt, whose short, “A Guy Walks into a Bar,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?

Hmm…it’s a toss-up between human companionship and champagne.

2. What was your inspiration for your story?

In college my best friend was a sports-loving, gregarious guy named Jim. We’d go to happy hour at a local bar that had a group of regulars–local, older men, some of whom I grew fond of. Once my friend Jim, sitting in this bar over a pitcher of cheap beer, told me that he’d always have “a bar”. I was imagining Jim (who died young) as an old guy with a bar.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

I’m going to assume that peace on earth will be covered by somebody else’s wish, and make my wishes selfish. 1. The time, ability, and ambition to turn all these ideas bouncing around inside my head into stories and novels. 2. The ability to eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound. And I suppose I should give a gift to the world with at least one of my wishes–so 3, I’d wish for no mean people. Imagine what an awesome world it would be if there were no mean people.

4. How has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

It was the Dick, Jane, and Sally books that taught my generation how to read. When I learned to read them I realized: somebody wrote these! So I can write books, too! I wrote and illustrated my first book at age five, lying on my belly at my grandparents’ farm. It was about Sally and was pretty much plagiarized. But it’s what started me writing. A few years later my older sister and I set up a reading nook in a deep closet, and by lamplight she read The Velvet Room to me. It was magical, and, inspired by that book, I’d lie awake planning out my own stories.

5. How would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I write in my office, surrounded by clutter, but with a lovely view to gaze upon while thinking. I’m easily distracted, so I prefer silence. Music with lyrics makes me think about the lyrics, so if there’s background music it has to be instrumental only. I get ideas in my head, plot them mentally during sleepless nights, and then sit down to write.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

Reading a big, fat, engaging novel can inspire me to write again. Or an assignment– a writing prompt challenge in a writer’s group, for example, or trying to meet a deadline for an anthology with a theme–something that forces me to think and write.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

For the most part my story was plotted out inside my head, but I wasn’t sure precisely how it would end–who would say what, who would do what. The details of the ending were a surprise to me.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

The Coen brothers would direct. Robert Duvall would play Charlie, although he’s a bit older than the character. I picture Mackie/Buster as looking like Kevin Bacon (although he’d probably need makeup to look older) and Mike would be played by Edward Norton, maybe, or Jake Gyllenhaal or Robert Downy Jr. I can’t think of a single actor who seems right for Jimmy, so I’d go looking around at bars to find my Jimmy. I’d hunt for a drunk to play a drunk who plays a drunk.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

I’d had the idea for “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” for a few years, but in my mind it was a novel. I’d written the first pages for it a year ago or so that started with Charlie sitting at the bar. I wasn’t feeling it, so scrapped that beginning but kept the idea in my head. I was happy that it fit the contract theme for this anthology, because I think it makes a better short story than a novel. The concept stayed pretty much the same; it just became lots shorter.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

It wasn’t a specific novel that made me think “oh, hell, I can do that” (although I’ve read a few that made me think, “seriously?”), but rather a Studies in the Short Story class I took in college. For the final exam we had a choice of either a traditional exam or writing our own short story. I wrote a short story, and its reception made me think, “Okay, yeah, that was fun. I’ll do this some more.”

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

My research for this story began when I was a kid and my father would on occasion take me into the bar with him, ordering himself a beer and me a 7-up. There I watched men just so at home and happy to chat with their bar buddies while drinking beer. I furthered my research drinking in my college town’s bars and chatting with old local cowboys.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

Maybe England or Scotland or Wales–someplace with green, rolling hills and cloudy skies (sunshine makes me want to be out in it). Sheep dotting the hillsides would be a bonus. I’d have a wall of multi-paned windows above my desk. In this fantasy I’m thin and wearing gray cashmere, and the study has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and velvet covered overstuffed chairs. And my husband plays the piano. No, make that guitar.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

My characters were inspired by various people I’ve known in my life. I loosely directed them, but a couple of them–Mackie and Charlie, specifically–kind of did their own thing a couple times, and I just wrote it down.

14. What do you consider your all time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

I don’t know if I can pick one all time favorite, but here are some of the books I’ve read again and again: The Secret Garden. Little Women. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Bell Jar. The Stand. Huckleberry Finn. The World According to Garp. She’s Come Undone.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

I’ve never outlined (although I wish I could); what I write is first plotted in my head–or, on a couple of occasions, I’ve sat down and started writing, having no idea what would show up on the page. I have a completed novel that began that way.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

If it’s cold, a cup of coffee or tea. If I’m hungry (or have the munchies), something that I can eat with one hand. Crackers are my go-to food. It hinders the process, because I have to periodically dump crumbs out of the keyboard. Now and then, though, the words will flow like magic and hours will pass without me noticing my gnawing hunger and dehydration. Shaky hands will finally alert me to the fact that I haven’t eaten in hours.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

“A Guy Walks Into A Bar” is fairly typical of my writing in general. A little bit of humor typically finds its way into even the most serious of subjects, and I usually include a lot of dialogue. I enjoy writing about ordinary people, quirky people, and disenfranchised people.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – Gemma Lambart

Today, I’d like to introduce you to author Gemma Lambart whose short, “Alice’s Promise,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?

Chocolate. Hang on, I was meant to say my children. My children, final answer.

2. What was your inspiration for your story?

A seed planted and the idea just grew from that. I knew I wanted to submit to ACOW before I knew what the “C” stood for. Once I knew it was contracts I decided I wanted something pinkie promise related. Then it was a matter of deciding who would make a pinkie promise, what kind of things would they pinkie promise about and then finally, how could I twist it so it no longer became an innocent pinkie promise.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

First would be money, so I could buy a larger house and have a writing space. No word of a lie as I type this my sons are crawling around the floor behind me, crashing and banging their toys, with NickJr on trying to drown them out.
Second, I would wish that my boys get the happiness they need to have a good life. I’m not talking getting everything they want, but enough for the important things to work out for them.
Third, to be able to visit all my favourite historical eras. The Romans, the Tudors, the Victorians. Enough to see and enjoy it but not long enough to cause or get in any trouble. I quite like my head where it is.

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

Greatly. It first started with Goosebumps, at aged nine I would attempt to recreate either what I had read or put my own spin on it. In my teens my Grandma got me into the Adams Family Saga by Mary Jane Staples, which prompted me to write my “first” novel. Sadly it was the era of the floppy disk, so it either became missed placed or corrupted a long time ago. The most recent and biggest influence was Harry Potter, I began my RPG and Fanfiction journey which was my longest consecutive run of writing.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I am a complete mixed bag. What works one day can be the worst thing to do the next. Most of my stories are planned out in my head, anything long or complicated I will jot down notes for. The novel I am currently writing has the strictest plan I have ever written. Each bullet point has step by step instructions. Whereas Alice’s Promise only has what appears in ACOW, there are no plans or notes.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

I move away from it. I start a new short story or I world build for my novel. Sometimes I have to come away from writing completely. This can be anything from reading or binge-watching TV shows. I find it is my characters who break out of writers block first and then they come and collect me.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

I knew what had to happen, but how it happened changed a lot. Originally the final scene was Alice going to Lucy’s home and confronting her, where the showdown would then take place. Then it changed to Alice confronting Lucy and a car chase taking place followed by Alice running Lucy down. I felt these two endings, while fun to write portrayed Alice more as a hunter than a defender and that’s when I decided the final scene had to be in Alice and Robert’s home.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

I’m not a movie person so this is a hard one. Robert would have to be played by someone who can do awkward. When I ordered an illustration of Alice and Robert I used Kristian Schmid and Catherine Tyldesley. As for directors I would choose Matthew Gray Gubler. I find all the episodes of Criminal Minds he directs have the creep factor. He’d find me a very weird Lucy.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

Alice’s Promise ended up being very close to my original idea, other than the location of the end being changed, everything I planned and needed to happen still did.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

It was Fire Over London by Mary Jane Staples. Everyday families dealing with both normal and extreme dramas of their time.
11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

I did question my husband extensively about what Alice would need to say after running Lucy over to get away with it and how to stage it to pass it off as an accident.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

It would be in a castle, with a view of the grounds. I’m a window gazer and currently all I have to look at from my living room window is the back of my car.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

Once I knew I would be writing about an expectant couple, I looked back on my two pregnancies for inspiration. I wanted Alice and Robert to come across as a real couple, so focused on their excitement at becoming parents and the silly little arguments that couples have. They mainly kept to the script, the only surprise for me being their argument about Alice going for a shower. She took me by surprise when she read him the riot act and shocked when Robert didn’t back down.

14. What do you consider your all time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

It would be easier to say what novels I wouldn’t read again. If I finish a book, then I’m likely to read it again as I don’t finish books I’m not enjoying. I’m going to be greedy and say it’s any of the Harry Potter books. After all it was that series that got me into writing properly.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

It is mainly a mixture of both. I have a outline in my head and those bits are always used, but every now and then a surprise will crop up and I find myself pantsing my way through a chapter.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

Mainly chocolate, or biscuits. I should say frit and vegetables but that would be lying.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

Death. I don’t know what it is but, in every story, someone is either already dead or soon will be. Even stories that are not meant to be horror or paranormal. I can’t help it.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

 

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – Laurie Gardiner

Today’s special guest on my page is Laurie Gardiner, whose short, “Don’t Forget Me,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?

Chocolate. And my family.

2. What was your inspiration for your story?

The song “Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

1.World peace (seriously) 2.A lifetime of happiness 3.More wishes

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

Definitely. I’ve always loved reading. There are too many to choose just one, but any book that is well-written and makes me feel something inspires me to write.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantster?

I generally write at home, in silence, but if I’m writing a story inspired by a song I listen to it on repeat during certain scenes. I don’t outline for short stories, but for novels I need to have at least a basic outline.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

Not really. I write when I’m inspired to.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

I had no idea how it would end until I wrote the ending.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

I have no idea. Believe it or not, it’s not something I ever think about.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

“Don’t Forget Me” is based loosely on the song, so the concept grew from that. It ended up being pretty close to the original concept.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

I’d rather not name any, but I’ve read books that left me wondering how they were ever published. On the flip side, I’ve also read books that left me spellbound and inspired, wishing I could write half as well.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

Nothing too out of the ordinary for this story.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

Near water; it’s where I’m most at peace.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

The characters in “Don’t Forget Me” are nothing like me. Most of my characters are loosely based on people I know or a combination thereof. They do take on a life of their own, but I’m always directing.

14. What do you consider your all time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again?

It’s a toss up between To Kill a Mockingbird, Flowers for Algernon, and All the Light We Cannot See.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

My short stories are written almost completely on the fly.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

I rarely eat when I’m writing, but if I do, it’s apples and cheese, or dark chocolate. I find it hard to concentrate when I’m hungry, so I try to eat regularly.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

“Don’t Forget Me” is typical of my writing niche, which is contemporary drama with mature, female characters.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – C.E. Rickard

Today, author C.E. Rickard takes over my page whose short, “The Hangman’s House,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, which is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

The answer to this question is easy for me. My family. Without a shadow of a doubt they are the one thing I could not live without. They are support and motivation in every aspect of my life. This fabulous writing journey would not be happening without them.

2. What was the inspiration for your story?

Nathaniel Locklie, the hangman in my story was inspired by a real hangman, William Calcraft. A cruel and sadistic executioner whilst alive, the idea of encountering him after his death was truly terrifying.

3. If a genie could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?

As I am writing this, I am on holiday with my family. I am looking out the window at the beautiful Welsh countryside and it is pouring with rain. My first wish for today would be that there is a break in the weather so that we can go for a long walk. A waste of a wish maybe, but that is my wish right now. Simple things!

Okay, my second and third wishes might have to get a little soppy I think. I would wish for the health of my family. My family has the hereditary condition R.P. (Retinitis Pigmentosa) R.P. slowly takes away the peripheral vision, gradually closing in until it has all gone. As yet there is no cure and no way of slowing it down. My second wish would be for a cure.

I am lucky to be blessed in many ways. My third wish would be to continue to write, (this is a dream,) whilst always having my family close by. I am one happy horror writer!!

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

I have loved to read ever since I was a child. I remember having a tall pile of books beside me and that feeling of excitement as I was about to embark on the new adventures contained inside or returning to familiar and much-loved characters and places. If I can create this for even just one person then I would be very happy.

I don’t think there is one particular book that made me want to write but many that ignited my love for books and reading and this developed into me wanting to write.

5. How would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean towards outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I most often write at our family’s dining table looking out into our garden, surrounded on two sides by bookshelves. I prefer to write in silence if possible but having two children, one dog and a husband often makes this tricky. So, if the house is a little noisy I listen to music. Usually classical without words, (or I will just sing along.) There are some great film and T.V. soundtracks. I am listening to The Game of Thrones soundtrack at the moment and music by the 2cello’s who are amazing! When coming up with ideas I listen to many types of music, rock is my all-time favourite. “Here Comes Revenge” by Metallica helped inspire my story The Hangman’s House and features on the companion soundtrack to A Contract of Words available from Scout Media.

I generally start with a rough idea, often just a particular scene and let the story unravel. I don’t tend to outline in too much detail just a few key points. I am often surprised how the story turns out, I love being surprised!

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

For me, “writers block” tends to have very little to do with actual writing and more to do with what is happening in my life outside of writing. It is as though my mind gets too crowded and there is little room left for words. Going for a long walk, listening to music and reading often help.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

I did know how “The Hangman’s House” would end. It was important to make sure the contract element was fulfilled, so, I had this worked out from the beginning.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

I would choose Jennifer Lawrence to play Melissa, Chris Pratt to play Karl and Gary Oldman to play my hangman, Nathaniel Locklie as I am big fans of each of these and I feel they would portray the characters how I have imagined them. There are no actors that I can think of that look at all like them though.

I would choose Alfred Hitchcock to direct as there is no one better at building suspense and tension!

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in mind?

I had the conclusion to “The Hangman’s House” set from the beginning with a couple of scenes planned along it’s way. There were no real changes made.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, this stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

I admire and aspire to many writers, Stephen King, James Herbert, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson to name a few. But I don’t think I have ever thought I could do that.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story?

The majority of the research I conducted for “The Hangman’s House” was about the real hangman, William Calcraft. Disturbing maybe but less odd than the research that has been necessary for some stories!

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

The perfect place for me to write would be in a large library of an old and secluded mansion. Sat at a large wooden desk beside a roaring fire. Preferably with a glass (or two) of wine.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters?

In the past I have worked in various old English pubs and I have always loved that work. Meeting the vast variety of characters. So, I can relate to Melissa in that kind of work and how she is trying to find her place in the world.

14. What do you consider your all time favourite novel? One that you would read again and again?

I think that for me Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” is one of my all time favourite novels. I love a classic ghost story and this is about as perfect a ghost story as I have ever read. Shirley Jackson’s Characters are so believable and relatable I feel as though I know each of them personally.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is pantsed or written on the fly?

I tend to have a few main scenes and a rough outline. I like the story to develop naturally on its own. What happens came often be a surprise, even to me!

16. What are you favourite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you-write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

I always have a bowl of Liquorice Allsorts nearby when I write. I love them. I don’t think they help my writing (or my waistline!) in any way.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing?

I mainly write psychological horror, so, “The Hangman’s House” is very typical of the stories I like to write.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, book, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – Curtis Deeter

Today’s highlighted author is Curtis Deeter, whose short story, “Clark the Herald Sings,” is featured in “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors exclusively from this group. Here is what he had to say about life, writing, and his story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?

Food. One of my greatest pleasures in life is going on adventures to new places and trying their food.

2. What was your inspiration for your story?

Mostly, I like the idea of personifying grand, hard-to-process ideas. “Clark the Herald Sings” attempts to do this in a subtle, yet fresh way. Also, Terry Pratchett. He’s done it the best and the most digestible of any of the authors I’ve read to date.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

I’d wish for enough money to contribute to bills and still go and do things, so I could quit my day job and focus on my creativity full time. I’d also like to ensure my parent’s happiness. My third wish would be for pizza. Lots and lots of pizza.

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

Absolutely. I’ve been an avid reader since a very young age. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first book that made me want to write. It was so vivid and detailed and exciting at times. Then, I started branching out and saw how diverse the universe of story truly was. Needless to say, I was hooked.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I like ambient music in the background when I’m writing and energetic rock/hip-hop when I’m brainstorming. I am somewhere in between a pantster and a plotter, though I rarely wear pants when I’m actually working.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

Normally, I’d say write through writer’s block or claim that it doesn’t exist. I still try to write through it, but I’m starting to understand where people are coming from more every day. My job sucks the creativity out of me and it’s been a struggle. Writing through has only helped on a fraction of the days. Reading, too.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

I did. I tend to know the beginning and I have a general idea of how a story is going to end. It’s the middley parts that surprise me.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

Tough question. Rory McCann or John Bradley for Walter. They’d have to be hunch-backed, though. Sam, he’s sort of an ordinary, sarcastic kind of guy. Maybe Arthur Darvill? Or Noel Clarke. Yeah, I like nerdy shows. You caught me.

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

For once, pretty much spot on. It was a quick write. I didn’t give my brain enough time to completely transform it like I normally do.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, this stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

There are a lot of books out there. I don’t like spending too much time on books that I’m not impressed by or totally immersed in. However, I did read the Hunger Game series and I’m convinced my writing is at least that good. My story telling, maybe not… but most of the young adult stuff I’ve encountered has been pretty basic as far as writing quality is concerned.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

Not for this one. Again, it was very quick. It’s more the start of an idea that I’ve thoroughly researched since submitting “Clark”.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

On the front porch of a secluded, lakeside cabin. With a glass of wine and snacks nearby.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

Part of me can relate to Sam. He’s just an ordinary, anonymous guy who finds himself faced with enormous opportunity. I never really understood the concept of a character “taking over a story” or when a writer says something like, “I don’t know, Daisy just serial murdered those four jocks that she didn’t like. I didn’t see that coming at all.” Come on. Yeah you did. You wrote it…

14. What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

American Gods. Or Good Omens. Neil Gaiman is the storyteller I aspire to be, and there’s always something new when I return to his worlds. Same with Pratchett, which makes Good Omens an excellent 2nd pick.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

It’s about 60% pants, 40% outlined. Sometimes, when I’m feeling wild, I’ll sit down and outline entire sections at a time. Other times, it’s pen to paper.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

Pizza. Beer. Both always help my mood. I’m a much better writer when I’m fed and doing happy-food dances.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

It’s typical in the magical, fantasy extent. I’ve always liked imagining different version of our world. It’s atypical by being short, to the point, and dang-near written in one, furious sitting.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

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Posted in amwriting, author, author takeover, blog, book, Published Author, Short story, writer, writing

Author Takeover – David Williams

Today’s featured author is me! My short “The Main Event,” was just published in the anthology “A Contract of Words,” which includes 28 authors from all over the world. Here is what I had to say about life, writing, and my story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?
Coffee. There’s nothing more beautiful in the universe.

2. What was your inspiration for your story?
My story is inspired by and loosely based on the true events of the murder of a wrestler known as Bruiser Brody. He was prolific during the 80s and wrestled all over the world. He was wrestling for a promotion in Puerto Rico and had a disagreement with another wrestler. The other wrestler called him into the shower area to discuss ‘business,’ carrying with him a knife. Brody was murdered. I decided to put my own spin on the story and developed a character who was trying to climb the ladder of success within wrestling but didn’t want to wait around for an opportunity.

3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
Money would probably be one. It would give me the stability and security to be able to write full time. I would probably wish for a house with an office or a specific writing space too. My third wish would be for the UK to stay in the EU. #Remain.

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?
I’d say reading Stephen King made me decide to be a write but in terms of influence, I’d put that down to Lee Child and his Jack Reacher novels. I read through 16 or 17 of those novels in the space of a few months.

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?
I find music, unless pertinent to the story, can be distracting. However, I have found in the past that listening to white noise videos on youtube helps me focus and concentrate.

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?
When I’ve struggled with the Block in the past, I’ve taken a step away from the story and tried to write something else. I’ve also found trying to brainstorm ideas around it to help. Stream of consciousness writing has also helped before, to just write for the sake of writing helps to get the juices flowing.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?
I’d say I knew around 75% of the story, but the end was a part I struggled with a little. However, as the theme was a contract within the story, I thought it’d be cool to include a bit where the contract had been breached and then gets ripped up. I figured a way to work that into the story and thought the consequences would be unspoken but eluded to.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?
Difficult question. I’d say it’d probably be cast by wrestlers, rather than Hollywood actors. Maybe Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin would probably be good as Andre Steele, young and cocky. Perhaps Goldstein would be played by one of the older wrestlers, Kevin Nash or Scott Hall. If I’m fantasy casting this gig, I’d definitely want Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to play Butch, and probably ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin to play ‘Cowboy’ Dean Anderson. As for the director, I’d like to take on that job for myself!

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?
The story ended up being what I hoped it would, I’d say 75% of the story was straight forward to write. It was the last part of the story that I had to work for. Any changes made were to simply accommodate my idea for the ending; an extra sentence to explain this, or justify that, near the end.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…
I wouldn’t say there was a particular book which made me feel that way. I loved reading King and wanted to write but nothing really came of it for a long time. A moment of inspiration in the shower changed all that.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?
Before I started writing the story, I did want to learn as much as possible about the death of Bruiser Brody. I watched a few things on YouTube, read a few articles and accounts of other wrestlers who witnessed it. What I found out, served as an inspiration for the story and some of the characters.

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?
I would love a cabin in the middle of nowhere, sort of like Paul Sheldon in Misery, where I can isolate myself from everything and everyone. But suffice to say, nowhere near that crazy, dirty birdy Annie Wilkes.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?
I’d say I relate to Andre Steele a little, I’d love to be able to skip a few steps on the ladder of my job, but I wouldn’t kill for it, so I guess not so much.

14. What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.
I’d go as far as to say The Dark Tower series, is and always will be, my favourite novels. Specifically, within the series, Drawing of the Three or Wizard And Glass.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?
I’m actually usually more of a pantser than I am an outliner, however my story was definitely mostly outlined than it was pantsed.

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?
As long as I’ve got coffee, maybe some pringles or bourbon biscuits, I’m a happy writer.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?
My other published story is nothing like ‘The Main Event.’ However, my on-going novel project is a crime thriller, which I guess you could say is similar to this story.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

 

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Posted in writing