Interview with Devra Robitaille

Devra Robitaille

Interview with Devra Robitaille

Today, I’m excited to welcome author Devra Robitaille to my blog. Welcome, Devra!

So good to be here and it’s nice to meet you 😊 😊

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I live in Florida now, on the Sarasota Bay, but I was born and brought up in London, England. My father was a well-known jazz musician and composer for the BBC, and my mother wrote TV shows throughout the sixties and seventies. So my childhood was mad and crazy, like a revolving door of creative, wild, whacky and wonderful personalities that rotated in and out of my parents’ insane social world. From there I went on to create my own crazy world, touring as a jazz musician, playing with well-known personalities like Mike Oldfield, singing back-up for people like Cher and John Lennon. I travelled the world as a musician, and I thank the powers that be every day for the adventures I had. I don’t have quite as much energy any more, but I can still move my fingers (LOL) so I began to write books for children, and that morphed into books for older teens and now it is a passion that enslaves me. I can’t wait to get to the typewriter (euphemism for computer) every day and see what adventures await my characters.

Leigh: What genre is The Henge and what draws you to this genre?

I think you might call it young adult alternate historical fiction, or metaphysical visionary (not sure if I made that up, but there are elements that hint of other worlds and things to be looked up on google in the book.) Well, as a professional musician I also spent many years directing and writing for the theatre in Los Angeles. That world is so random and magical. That world is what drew me to write about different little universes. In the theatre, the play or the musical takes place between the arches, so to speak, and the writer has to design what goes on in that small space; from everything that’s said, and worn, to the scenery and events and even the thoughts of the characters. But in that medium the author is limited by time, you only have a couple of hours to convey that world. In books you have as long as your readers are willing to sit there, and your job is to keep them enthralled. It’s a wonderful challenge and I am hooked the moment I type the words “Chapter One.”

Leigh: The protagonist tribe- what makes them special? What would you say are the main values of their culture?

The people of the Noble Village of the Arts are trying to thrust their civilization to the next level; they are reaching for better lives for their children than just the daily act of foraging for food. The action of the book takes place in a year, solstice to solstice, but it could also be a metaphor for an eon; the time it took for the hunter-gatherers to figure out how to plant crops and tend flocks and create stable villages instead of being on the move all the time following their prey. When I started the book I had no idea who these people would turn out to be, but as I “wrote” them, I fell for them.

Leigh: What can you tell us about the main character? What’s most important in their world?

Her name is Concinnity Song, of the Noble House of Song and she is just a young woman who has grown up in this most magnificent land. She understands nature and she knows how to “sing” to it….and it sings back. Her people find a stone buried in a quarry, and they recognize its value and purpose. They must transport it across the land to a pre-ordained resting place and Concinnity must use her voice as one of the tools that can liberate this enormous two-ton stone from its watery prison at the bottom of the jade lake. In her world, honor and faith in the ancestors are key to accomplishing this pledge. All the characters interlock with their own “talents” – there is Aderynn the Healer, and Izraziti the Dreamer and Thorsten the Architect to name a few. There are some pretty colorful bad guys too. I’d better stop now or I’ll give away some secrets.

Leigh: “The Henge” is described as an alternate history. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about how it differs?

Well, as a child growing up in England I was fascinated by places like Glastonbury, and Stonehenge; the stone circles that litter every part of Britain, their mystery and the fact that we still have more questions than answers about the people who built them. So this is a “Henge” that doesn’t really exist but might, in a country that is similar to Britain, but could just as easily exist on the Planet Zott. And the people are normal, just like people we know yet they have special talents and a driving passion to accomplish something sacred. They don’t have technology as we know it, but they do have “technology” as they know it.

Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

As I look back, I don’t really remember a time I didn’t write. In school I lived for the essay assignments, I adored being creative, the weirder, the better. Then growing up as I said before I wrote plays and scripts and songs, and now it’s coming out as books. I guess I write because I can, and also because I must LOL.

Leigh: What was your favorite childhood book and why?

Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows (sorry but I just couldn’t decide between the two) and I’d have to say it’s their complete and utter whimsy that enchanted me.

Leigh: If you could go back in time and visit the past, what era would you like to visit?

Well, although I’d like to say that I’d go back to the Bronze Age, honestly I am pretty attached to my nice kitchen and all the nice food I can get at the local market, so I’m not sure I would want to go back to the beginning of time where I’d have to forage for lunch. Having said that though, I am definitely intrigued by the raw, natural beauty of unspoiled nature – so perhaps I could take sandwiches.

Leigh: Where can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website: http://www.thehologramlibrary.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DevRobitaille

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/TheHenge

Book Links: getBook.at/Henge

Thank you very much, Devra, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.

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Author Spotlight on Isaiyan Morrison, Author of “Deamhan”

Today I’m excited to have on my blog the author of the Deamhan Chronicles, Isaiyan Morrison! Thanks for stopping by, Isaiyan!

My pleasure! Thank you for having me!

Leigh: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Minnesota. I’ve also lived in San Diego CA, Hollywood CA, and Texas. I did four years in the military and now I’m back in Minnesota.

Besides writing, I love playing video games and spending time outside in my garden. I have three beautiful cats and three Pit Bulls who are down right adorable.

Leigh: What inspired you to write the Deamhan Chronicles?

The idea came to me back in the late 90s when I was working at a comic book shop in Minneapolis. I love reading dark fiction/supernatural novels, especially when they involve vampires. I also love History so I dug deep into vampire lore and realized that there are other types of vampire based creatures out there, just waiting to be explored. So I picked on (psychic vampires) and had to narrow down the creatures associated with that type of vampire down to eight: Ramanga, Metusba, Lamia, Lugat, Estrie, Ekimmu, Empusa, and Adze.

Ramanga, Metusba, Lamia, Lugat feed on humans and vampires. Estrie, Ekimmu, Empusa, and Adze can also feed on humans, vampires, and other Deamhan.

They’re also separated by distinct feeding patterns. For example, Ramanga and Estrie are the only two who have fangs because they feed off the psychic energy in the blood of their victims. Lamia Deamhan suck away the life force from their victim’s mouths.

Leigh: What are your favorite movies? How do you feel about more recent trends in vampire film and books (such as Twilight)?

I’m all over the place when it comes to movies. I collect comic books so I love comic based films and T.V. Shows. Of course anything supernatural and historical catches my eye as well. As for movies I enjoy:

Many people have bashed on Twilight. I don’t have a problem with the books and how the vampires are portrayed. The author created something that many readers enjoyed and many movie goers enjoyed. Why hate on that?

In my books Deamhan are a lot more ruthless because they have to be if they want to survive, so there’s little room for romance or attending High School for the hundredth time. They aren’t violent just to be violent. They also have to learn how to act among humans and sanguine vampires. So in that sense, you can say my books take a more traditional and less explored route when it comes to supernatural creatures.

Leigh: What’s the most difficult part of your writing process?

Finding the time to write is a challenge. I also work a full time job so many of my days are long. Sometimes I don’t go to bed until midnight, only to wake up at six in the morning the next day!

Once I am writing, the editing process is also challenging. Tightening my prose, working out the kinks in the plot…basically nitpicking the manuscript so that it’s ready for and editor to go through can be a hassle but it’s worth it.

Leigh: Do you work from an outline before you write the series, or do you let the characters drive the story?

I do a mixture of both. I have an outline, I know where I want to go with the story and where I want to end up. Basically, I have a starting point and an end point. What’s in between changes often. Several times I’ve had to rework my plot because I allowed certain characters to drive the story.

Leigh: What are you working on at the moment and what can you tell us about it?

I’m working on a side book in The Deamhan Chronicles. It’s based on a popular character in the book (Remy) and takes place in France from the late 1840s to present. It explores how he was sired and the challenges he had to face as a new Lamia Deamhan.

I’m also working on a new series, loosely based on The Deamhan Chronicles which is currently untitled. This three book series is from the point of view of other supernatural creatures in the Deamhan world and how they have to deal and interact with Deamhan.

Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? What is it that draws you to this genre?

I’ve always loved reading and writing paranormal and/or quirky stories. There’s something about the genre that moves me. I love reading other genres (I love westerns) but I can’t write a western novel.

I wrote my first short story in 5th grade. I still have it! It’s called ‘Runaway Toilet on Jackson Street.’ It was about a toilet that came to life and two kids had to figure out a way to capture it and return it to the bathroom. Sounds silly, but I was so proud of that story. I still am!

I write my first paranormal in 7th grade. Sadly, I can’t find it and I don’t remember the name of it. However, I do remember how thrilling and exciting it was to create characters, put them in a situation, and control how I wanted that situation to play out.

After I wrote another novel in 8th grade called “Wolves of Evil (I still have it!) I came to the conclusion that was what I wanted to do. I didn’t really dive into the writer’s life, so to speak, until 2012.

Leigh: What actors can you envision playing the major characters in the series?

There are a handful of characters in my novels so I’ve chosen just a few:

1. Lucius – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

I believe that Nikolaj has the acting ability to bring Lucius to the screen. Not only is Lucius known to forgive Deamhan for their actions, he’s also known to strike down those who stand against him and his agenda. He’s a complex character with much thought, wit, and vileness and Nikolaj has the ability to play the character well.

2. Remy – Taylor Kitsch

Remy is considered a middle aged Deamhan but he’s been through much more than many older Deamhan. Born into a bourgeoisie family, he has no choice but to tear back his sheltered life if he wants to survive in the dark world of Deamhan. Plus he considers himself a ladies man so to speak. I believe that Taylor Kitsch has the acting ability to bring this character to life on screen with his attractive looks and his younger appearance.

3. Anastasia – Anna Mouglalis

Anna is relatively unknown to American audiences and so is Anastasia. I’d want an actress to show the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde persona that Anastasia has and I think as an actress Anna Mouglalis can pull that off. Anastasia is a brutal killer who Deamhan fear. She is also loyal and is currently facing a dilemma within herself which spills out to those around her. Not to mention, her first name is Anna.

4. Lambert – Jack Savoretti

A vampire who stands by the side of Deamhan is hard to find yet Lambert is such one vampire. The owner of Dark Sepulcher, he tries to keep the peace between his own vampires and Deamhan by offering an establishment in the city where supernatural beings can be themselves. Like Anna Mouglalis, I believe that an unknown actor can bring this character to life on screen. Jack Savoretti, an English singer of Italian descent, has the looks and the voice that fits Lambert’s cool and collective persona perfectly.

Leigh: Where can readers discover more about you and your work?

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Isaiyan-Morrison/e/B004CF80F6

*You can also find my books listed on my Amazon Author Page*

Website: https://www.isaiyanmorrison.com/

Blog: https://www.isaiyanmorrison.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isaiyanmorrison

Twitter: https://twitter.com/isaiyanmorrison

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/isaiyan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163501.Isaiyan_Morrison

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cSxchr

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

 

A veteran of the Armed Forces, Isaiyan Morrison was born and raised in Minneapolis.

Her passions include writing, reading, and researching historical events.

She also spends her time gardening, playing video games, and hanging out with her three cats and beloved pitt bull.

She’s the author of The Deamhan Chronicles and the novel, Old Farmer’s Road.

Interview with Jason Parent, author of “A Life Removed”

Today I’m excited to host Jason Parent, author of “A Life Removed”, on my blog. Thanks for agreeing to the interview!

Thanks for having me!

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, there’s not much to tell. I’m an attorney by day and a writer by night, so yeah… I drink. I can also do a number of impersonations that only I find funny, usually brought on by said drinking.

Leigh: What were some of your literary influences growing up?

Tolkien and Poe, and a little later, King. But I guess it all really started with Dr. Seuss. I still love Green Eggs and Ham.

Leigh: What are some of your favorite films and TV shows?

Though I am not necessarily sure they are my absolute favorites, I definitely love these movies and have seen them more than all other films: Big Trouble in Little China, Better Off Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, The Thing, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Princess Bride. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do (with the exception of Preacher, Hap & Leonard, Legion, Rick & Morty, and The Walking Dead), it’s usually binge-watching a Netflix/BBC show (Luther, Wallander) or any show on HBO, Showtime or Starz. Dexter was one of my favorites.

Leigh: Will Detectives Marklin and Beaudette from this novel return in another one? Do you foresee a possible series?

The current plan is to bring them back for at least one more story. They have important roles to play in a universe I have been creating with several thrillers—their stories will stand alone, but they will have some interconnected facets that fans of my other books might appreciate, and particularly fans of Seeing Evil and its upcoming sequels.

Leigh: How much research did you have to do to be able to write the novel’s villain? Was there a real-life individual that inspired you to create this type of character?

My research for this villain was more geared toward religious cults, their charismatic leaders, and what psychology influences followers to join up. The Branch Davidians are referenced in passing in this book, though David Koresh was somewhat influential in the villain’s development, as was Charles Manson. But the biggest influence was Joshua Milton Blahyi.

Leigh: What other works have you written and where can readers find them?

Well, for those who liked A Life Removed, I have another crime thriller called Seeing Evil, also from Red Adept Publishing. It’s about a fourteen-year-old orphan boy who has visions of horrible crimes and the detective and semi-foster mother who tries to keep him and those he sees safe. I have several other novels, all mixing horror, suspense, thriller, science fiction, and dark humor to varying degrees, as well as several novellas and short stories and my own collection. My next release will be a more traditional horror novel called They Feed, due out from Sinister Grin in a month or two. Everything’s on Amazon and everywhere else books are sold online.

Leigh: What do you do to relax?

I read and write and love the beach. My idea of true relaxation is lounging on some tropical beach with a book or pen and paper in one hand and an umbrella drink with a name I won’t remember by the time I finish drinking it in the other.

Leigh: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Probably still doing what I’m doing: plugging away at the day job and trying to make a decent living as a writer. But, I’m open to suggestions.

Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: authorjasonparent.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJasonParent/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorJasParent?lang=en

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Parent/e/B008XMAMBY

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6505947.Jason_Parent

Thank you very much, Jason, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

 

 

Spotlight on S.T. Gulik

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Leigh: Today I’m excited to host S.T. Gulik, author of “Birth,” on my blog. Thanks for agreeing to the interview!

S.T.: Thanks for having me.

Leigh: Which small castle outside of Dublin did you first live in during those old nostalgic cockroach days?

S.T.: Lol, it never occurred to me to check the address. I tried to find it in the early 1900s, but I couldn’t quite tell where it was. It’s all shops now.

Leigh: Did that part of your life inspire your work?

S.T.: In a way. Alchemy made me who I am, so I developed an interest in fringe science and philosophy. I’m not interested in writing anything set in that period, though. Everything was painfully boring, back then. I mostly ran around looking for food and trying not to get stepped on. The humans toiled and used their remaining energy to make more humans to help with the toiling. It wasn’t romantic. Everything stank. It was a horrible time.

Leigh: What else has inspired your work?

S.T.: A bit of everything. I really enjoy watching humans go.

I just saw a spectacularly abysmal movie called “Never Too Young To Die” from 1986, about an all-American teen (John Stamos) trying to stop an evil, hermaphroditic rock star (Gene Simmons) from poisoning the water supply. It harkened back to a simpler time before the human singularity when good was good, evil was evil, and you could tell which was which based on fashion. Go back 50 years, and it was white-hat vs. black-hat. Before that, it was this skin vs. that skin. It was simplistic, but in an innocent way that doesn’t exist anymore.

Everything is postmodern now. You can’t tell who’s joking or what’s worn ironically. A hermaphroditic villain is a totem for transphobia and an act of aggression, if not rape, by the heteronormative establishment. Meanwhile, that same character in that same movie is a tool for the homosexual agenda to create talking points for the paid protesters, normalize perversion, and ultimately lower youths directly to Hell in a bedazzled handbasket. These are not even the poles of the sociopolitical discussion a B-movie can inspire.

That cognitive dissonance is mutating human consciousness. Much like the Iiitis prophesied in “Birth,” this mutation can be helpful or harmful. It’s cultural puberty. Like in individual puberty, a lot of people are self-destructing in their attempts to test boundaries. Depending on your perspective, it is either profoundly sad, or entertaining, or both, or all three, or none of the above.

Watching humans go is like seeing a cat fall off a TV that’s playing an old chimpanzee-western, in a house that’s on fire and infested with Smurfs that are too high to walk out the door. It’s exquisite and highly inspirational.

Leigh: My brother-in-law’s single. Is the goddess of chaos hot?

S.T.: She’s got tits you could crawl into and die. Many have.

I could hook him up, but you should know that her last boyfriend’s soul is imprisoned in the outermost sheet of toilet paper in the first stall of a Pilot gas station in Tennessee. Every time that piece gets used, he reincarnates into the piece above him.

Leigh: Which movies make you cry and why?

S.T.: Wow, wasn’t expecting that one. Lol, I guess that’s a reference to my bio. I joked that vampire movies make me cry because we immortals are always maudlin about having to outlive our loved ones. Honestly, immortality’s pretty nice. Watching your friends die sucks, but having seen the other side of things makes it a lot easier.

Death is like seeing your father naked. It seems like a big deal at the time, but it’s really just an unsettling thing that happens to everybody eventually. Afterwards, everybody gets on with their life.

I’m much more likely to be moved by beauty than sadness. There’s a song by AJJ called Linda Rondstadt about totally losing your shit in public after witnessing an entirely mundane thing that struck a nerve. That’s me. Repressed and stoic 99% of the time, then wham.

But you asked what movies make me cry. The saddest movies I’ve ever seen were cartoons. When the Wind Blows, Plague Dogs, and Grave of the Fireflies are a few good ones. I hate to see innocents suffering because of ignorance.

Leigh: How accurate do you think this prophecy labeled “Birth” is? Is there anything we can do now to avert this catastrophe?

S.T.: Well, that’s all going to happen verbatim in one string of reality, but consciousness can navigate strings by focusing will and action to move toward a particular destination. A few things you could do to shift yourself into a less chaotic reality: Vote for honest, altruistic leaders who’s plans make sense. Relax. Agree to disagree. Worry less about differences in appearance or opinion and more about cancer and Fukushima killing the ocean. Actually, instead of worrying, work with others to find solutions. Find reasons to love everything. Really, anything you do that’s calm and inspired by love will nudge you away from Eris’s influence.

But what’s the fun in that?

Leigh: Can you tell us a little bit about “Sex”? If I buy “Sex” from you, will it make me laugh or cry?

S.T.: Both, probably at the same time, plus it will swap your gender, turn your tongue blue, and help you see electromagnetic fields.

“Birth” is a reference point to help you understand the end of the world. “Sex” is the apocalypse. You could say that the Chakra Kong trilogy is the story of a man trying to dig himself out of a pit of quicksand with a tasting spoon. The deeper he digs, the more quicksand he finds, but he learns a lot in the process.

My favorite scene involves creatures like Care Bears fighting a Shoggoth. Mind you; they are not their copyrighted counterparts. These are real beings from other planes, whose existence filtered through the subconscious of artists and manifested as entertainment.

Leigh: What’s your favorite FUD?

S.T.: Cheeseburger Flavored potato chips and the pizza sliders from Arbys.

Leigh: What do you do to relax?

S.T. – Fun fact; a properly stimulated pineal gland secretes a chemical similar to crystal meth. I forgot how to relax years ago. I try to meditate, but Eris starts bugging me the second my body goes to sleep. The closest I get to shutting my brain off is when I play Soulcalibur.

For fun, I play a lot of board games. Argent the Consortium, Cthulhu Wars, and Trickerion are a few favorites. None of those are particularly relaxing, though.

Leigh: You’ve just learned you have 24 hours before the world ends. What do you do?

S.T.: I’d put on my T-shirt that says, “I told you so” and walk around town playing my concertina for the orgies.

Leigh: How did you come by the idea for this series? When you write, do you fly by the seat of your pants, or do you plan things out in advance?

S.T. – Chakra Kong is all divine revelation. Dreams inspired most of my other stuff. I let my subconscious do most of the work then adapt the byproduct into something that makes sense.

Sometimes, I try to raise awareness of a particular issue. For instance, most people are unaware that dolphins are psychopathic rapists by nature. Not to say they’re all evil. I’m sure some of them are very nice. Still, porpoises are the only non-human mortals who kill each other for fun. They use their psychic powers to gain followers and erase the memories of those who see them for what they are. It’s getting harder now that everyone has a video-recorder in their pocket. Tons of dolphin videos get uploaded to Youtube, but the bastards keep getting them taken down.

My screenplay, “Dolphin Cock Massacre,” is the wakeup call humanity needs. Unfortunately, everybody who’s aware of the menace is too afraid to make it. It’s a real problem, and we need a real solution. If anyone reading this is brave enough to make this movie, send me a PM on Facebook or contact me through Sausage-press.com. It could be animated, live action, or puppets. The medium isn’t important as long as we get the word out. Together, we can make a difference.

Leigh: What advice would you give to a new prophetic cockroach, starting out, just trying to turn on the screen and open the word processing program?

S.T.: I’d smoosh it as an act of mercy.

Leigh: Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

S.T.: I am omnipresent. Seek, and ye shall find.

Website: http://sausage-press.com/

Blog: http://sausage-press.com/#blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.gulik

Twitter: https://twitter.com/STGulik?lang=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-gulik-2435b955/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/stephengulik/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/S.T.-Gulik/e/B01MROM3CP/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/STGulik

Book Links:

American print or ebook- Birth (USA)

Birth (Kobo)

UK – Birth UK

Italy – Birth Italy

France –Birth France

Germany –Birth (Germany)

Spain – Birth (Spain)

Goodreads: Birth at Goodreads

S.T.: I’m also lurking in your couch and behind the potholders in your kitchen, but I am very fast and sneaky. It’s easier to click the links.

Interview with Simon Williams, author of “Oblivion’s Forge”

Today I’m excited to host Simon Williams, author of “Oblivion’s Forge”, on my blog. Thanks for agreeing to the interview!

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an author of dark fantasy and some sci-fi and horror, based in the UK. So far I’ve written the Aona series (five books in total, of which Oblivion’s Forge is the first), Summer’s Dark Waters (for younger readers- a sci-fi / fantasy adventure) and Disintegration (a collection of short stories new and old).

Leigh: What draws you to this genre?

Well, I read a lot of books that fired my imagination when I was a kid- particularly Alan Garner’s wonderfully evocative celtic fantasy, Clive Barker’s wild imagination, CJ Cherryh’s grimly beautiful fantasy / sci-fi mashups, and Tad Williams’ epic scope and worldbuilding… and many many others.

I was probably influenced just as much by film though- movies such as Blade Runner (my all time favourite), and (again) so many others that I can’t possibly list them all here.

Leigh: Was it difficult to switch between so many perspectives, and keep the plot consistent and moving forward?

You might think so, and if I hadn’t had such a clear idea of the characters- what they looked like, their psychology, their mannerisms, even their accents- then it would have posed a challenge. But I had a very clear vision of each of the major characters and switching between them wasn’t an issue at all.

The Aona books do have a large cast of characters, some more important than others- by contrast my new standalone novel I’m working has a cast of, well, three basically. But then it is very different.

Leigh: Do you identify more strongly with one character in the book over the others and if so which one and why?

Not one but perhaps several. I always found Vornen easy to “invoke” if that’s the right word, but there’s a character who appears towards the end of Oblivion’s Forge who is probably my favourite in the whole series, and that’s Nia. She becomes a central character and as the series goes on the reader begins to see that she is a very complex individual- reprehensible and wonderful, dark and light… the sort of character I love working with. In fact I’ve even thought of writing a few short stories about her (such has been her effect on me!)

Leigh: How do you select the names for your characters?

I tend to start with an initial, add some letters and sound the variations in my head a few times. The name has to sound right for the character, so it can take a while.

Leigh: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I don’t have any money to spend on it! Even if I did I don’t believe in paying people to read or publish my work. In fact I’m astonished that people still go for vanity publishing these days with all the self-publishing options available. There are also a lot of resources and blogs to help people along the path, and most of these are free, so luckily one doesn’t have to be wealthy in order to do this.

Leigh: What are some of your literary influences? What book are you reading currently?

Alan Garner, Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z Brite, George R R Martin, Tad Williams, Ian Irvine, C J Cherryh, Aldous Huxley, CS Lewis, Richard Adams, Mervyn Peake and some contemporary / non-fantasy authors (favourite of them would be John Irving). Currently reading Tad Williams’ “Shadowrise”…

Leigh: Do you write to an outline or just see where your ideas take you?

I tend to start with a concept, an idea, maybe some fragments and characters from a dream, then I build on those- and if I’m lucky it blossoms out into the beginnings of a plot. I never worry too much about the plot as sooner or later it works itself out and then I just sort of sanity-check it later on.

I also quite often write the ending of a novel, or late-on parts, before I’ve even touched some of the earlier parts. It’s definitely a non-linear exercise, and that’s probably the only consistent thing you can say about the whole approach.

Leigh: What do you do to relax? What are some of your hobbies?

I like to read (I’m always rummaging through charity shops for second hand books), and listen to music (quite often while I’m writing, although funnily enough I never listen to music while reading). Apart from that I try to keep fit (running, weights, walking, cricket and tennis). Maybe this humdrum existence is why I chose to write fantasy!

Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.simonwilliamsauthor.com

Blog: http://www.simonwilliamsauthor.com/blog.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simonwilliamsauthor/

Twitter: @SWilliamsAuthor

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Simon-Williams/e/B00P0ZZYS8/

Oblivion’s Forge (Amazon US) – https://www.amazon.com/Oblivions-Forge-Aona-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0082XW04G/

Oblivion’s Forge (Amazon UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oblivions-Forge-Aona-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0082XW04G/

Summer’s Dark Waters (Amazon US) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Dark-Waters-Simon-Williams/dp/1849145008/

Summer’s Dark Waters (Amazon UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Dark-Waters-Simon-Williams/dp/1849145008/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6094097.Simon_Williams

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Biography:

I’m the author of the Aona dark fantasy series, of which four books have been published so far- Oblivion’s Forge, Secret Roads, The Endless Shore and The Spiral Heart. The fifth book, Salvation’s Door, is due out either late 2015 or early 2016. It all depends on how disciplined I am- but I’m getting better at that.

I’ve also written a sci-fi / fantasy / supernatural book, Summer’s Dark Waters aimed at younger readers. It’s always difficult to give a minimum / maximum age as I believe kids should be allowed to read to the best of their abilities and really stretch their skills, but roughly 10+. A sequel is being written and should be out late in 2015.

All the royalties from sales of Summer’s Dark Waters go towards TACT (tactcare.org.uk), an adoption and fostering charity. So for about £2 / $3 you get to help a good cause and you get a fully illustrated book which has already gathered some nice reviews.

People sometimes ask me why I write books. I suppose I feel like I’ve always been a writer, but there are authors I’ve read (mostly when I was a kid) who deeply influenced me to the degree that I didn’t really want to be anything else. In the end this worked out just as well, because I never really had much of a gift for anything academic as such- and although I did try to have a career at one point, I quickly realised it wasn’t for me. Maybe I just hated commuting and office politics even more than other people?

I’m not sure which of my influences show through most in my books, but the author who made me decide to become a fantasy writer was Alan Garner, so he was certainly the most profoundly influential writer during my childhood. Others (at various stages) have included Clive Barker, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Tad Williams, C.J Cherryh and Ian Irvine.

In terms of how it captured my imagination and changed the course of my life, still has to be Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and its sequel The Moon of Gomrath.

The response from readers has encouraged me to keep going, and to increase my rate of output. There’s nothing like a rave review or even just an encouraging comment to help me kick on and get moving on whatever my current project happens to be. It’s fair to say it’s the comments, reviews and encouragement from fans that has helped me keep going more than anything else.

Interview with Adam Gary, author of “Southwest on the A303”

Today I’m excited to host Adam Gary, author of “Southwest on the A303”, on my blog. Thanks for agreeing to the interview!

 Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me! Well, I’m Adam. I live just outside of London, England now – and loving a quieter life! I’m twenty-five with a passion of Storytelling in many forms. I’m a trained actor that has recently discovered the path of writing and embracing it fully! I have a little West highland terrier named Daisy and my favourite colour is black. Not because I’m gothic or anything like that, I just find it incredibly soothing. I see it more of a blank canvas than white. I also think it’s very smart looking. Haha, I always feel awkward talking about myself, I’m sorry.

Leigh: What were some of your literary influences growing up? What book had the most influence for you in childhood?

Funnily enough I wasn’t an avid reader growing up. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I only ever read the Harry Potter books growing up. I was very much into films back then, and creating stories with all the figures and toys I had acquired over the years. Storytelling has always fascinated me, but it took me a while to understand the joys a book can bring, and now I’m hooked.

At the moment I’m constantly reading through Jack Kerouac’s work. Bukowski, Shakespeare, and Tolkien. I’m also influenced by the songs of Ed Sheeran, Tom Waits, Keith Richards, Peter Green and David Bowie.

Leigh: How has publishing this book changed your writing process?

I guess I’ve learnt to be particular about things. To continue to work through things no matter the struggle at the time. I don’t like to put too many restrictions or rules on things when I’m creating, but it’s always wise to check in every once in awhile from an outsider’s perspective.

Leigh: Did you draw from any personal experiences in writing this book? Where did the idea for it come from?

Actually yes. Uncle Bill is heavily influenced by my own Uncle. In fact that aspect of the story is practically biographical. Alex is also a massive reflection of myself, although his side of the story is completely fictional. I was feeling incredibly bored, life had plateaued out and I wanted to find a way of expressing that. I’d also recently come back from visiting my uncle in Par and had wanted to do something as a tribute to him. I knew immediately I had to do something with his camper, and having discovered Jack Kerouac’s work a year before, which had left a mark on me… everything seemed to fall into place.

Southwest was a very unique experience. I had been working on writing my series Nerdians for over a year and was beginning to grow creatively frustrated, experiencing set backs constantly and I felt myself beginning to feel incredibly pent up. I decided I wanted to take a break away from writing, to clear my head and unwind a little. This lasted all of three days before I suddenly, almost subconsciously, sitting at my laptop and beginning to write a camper van story.

Leigh: What is your favorite motivational saying?

“Let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.” – William Shakespeare. I have it tattooed to my lower abdomen. I am what I am, and that’s okay.

Leigh: Which famous person, living or deceased, would you like to meet and what would you ask them?

I’d definitely ask William Shakespeare if I could hold his quill. Haha, that’s a hard question. So many great minds I’d love to talk to.

Leigh: What advice would you give to new writers?

Write, then read, then write some more. Eat, sleep, repeat.

Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I have an about me page on my website, as well as an instagram social media page. You can also sign up to my mailing list at http://www.adamgary.co.uk you can sign up to. I have two poetry collections in the works, one out in November and the other in February, and a trilogy of short stories coming soon!

Website: www.adamgary.co.uk

 

Twitter: adam_gary

 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adam-Gary/e/B06Y5PD3MH

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35508006-southwest-on-the-a303

Thank you very much, Adam, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Interview with Roxanne Bland, Author of “The Moreva of Astoreth”

Today, I’m delighted to have Roxanne Bland, author of “The Moreva of Astoreth” on my blog. Welcome, Roxanne!

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Roxanne: I’m a fugitive from reality, and always have been. When I was a child, I could usually be found with my nose stuck in a book, or at the piano, playing my little heart out. As a teen, I went to a fine arts high school, and was totally immersed in music—piano, the school band, and a city-wide orchestra. Books and music have always been my “go to” when I want or need to escape everyday life. In truth, I find reality to be highly overrated.

Leigh: How did you come up with the idea for “The Moreva of Astoreth”?

Roxanne: A friend and I, while in college, came up with this story about a princess exiled from her homeland because she would not marry a man her father picked out for her. I won’t go into the details (much of which I don’t remember, anyway), but after much traveling and many adventures, she ends up at this village in the far north and later marries the chieftain. Her father comes looking for her, and she refuses to go back. Her father declares war, and she and the chieftain are killed in the fighting. I know, not a very happy ending.

Years later, I read Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles. Whatever anyone says about it, and whether you believe it or not, you have to admit it’s a fantastic tale. So, years after that, I got to thinking maybe I could meld the story my friend and I made up with Earth Chronicles. So that’s what I did.

Leigh: Which writers inspire you? What are you reading now?

Roxanne: Every writer I read, actually. They all have something to say, something I can take with me. I think the writers that inspire me the most, though, are Edgar Allan Poe and Tim Powers. I know Edgar Allan Poe writes in a 19th century style that is no longer fashionable, but every time I read him, I get so drawn into the stories and poems, even though I’ve read them a hundred times. As for Tim Powers, the disparate elements he is able to weave together into a story just makes my jaw drop. And he writes beautifully. I remember I had a hardback Tim Powers book stolen from my suitcase while traveling. It was the only one of six that had been taken. I was upset—I wanted to read it again—but I can only hope that whoever stole it was a Tim Powers fan.

What am I reading now? Cedric the Demonic Knight by Valerie Willis, a fine writer, indeed. I highly recommend it.

Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

Roxanne: I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since I learned to write. But it wasn’t until 2001 that I decided to become a writer. It was then that I discovered that I truly love to write. I don’t write because I “have” to; I write because I love creating worlds I can get lost in. I love creating characters who inevitably become my friends.

Leigh: Tell us about the book covers and who designed them?

Roxanne: Well, The Moreva of Astoreth is getting a makeover. In most places, it’s the version with the woman standing in a laboratory. Vyrdolak of Bysightunseen media designed it. But there was no conflict in the cover, nothing to tell the reader what it was about. That’s my fault, because Vyrdolak simply gave me what I wanted. Maybe I should stay out of the book cover design game! The new cover has the heroine and hero embracing, but she’s in her uniform and he’s in his normal garb. So there’s a conflict there—she’s military, and possibly violating military protocol. Which, if you’ve read the book, is exactly what she’s doing.

Leigh: Do you have a set time to write? What’s a typical writing day like for you?

Roxanne: I usually get up at about 2 or 3 in the morning, and write until it’s time for me to go to work. My day job is pretty demanding, so that’s the only time I can write. Of course, I write on the weekends, too.

Leigh: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their book? How much of your writing time do you dedicate to marketing your book?

Roxanne: Do your homework. There are lots of free and inexpensive advertising sites, but you have to find them. Google, Bing, whatever, is your friend. The Fussy Librarian comes to mind. So does eSoda, an advertising site in the UK. Also in the UK is iAuthor. They’re out there. As for marketing and writing, I still have yet to learn how to balance my time. I’m either marketing, or I’m writing. Not good.

Leigh: What do you do to relax? What are your hobbies?

Roxanne: I really don’t have any hobbies, because I’m too busy writing. Yes, I enjoy writing that much. As for relaxing, I like to go for long drives along the back roads in my sports car. Of course, I don’t do that as much anymore, because traffic is terrible where I live, even on the back roads. And getting to the back roads further out is even worse—the only way to get there is from the main highways, and those are a nightmare.

Leigh: What movies and TV shows do you like?

Roxanne: I don’t watch much TV—haven’t owned one in almost 15 years. I’ve just never been interested, even in childhood. Of course, there were certain shows I never missed, like the original Dark Shadows. I like the older shows, such as Barney Miller and All in the Family. And I liked The X Files and Fringe. Not long ago, I was at a friend’s house watching Big Bang Theory. I enjoyed it, but not enough to run out and buy a television. It’s funny—I have a subscription to Netflix, have had one for years, because I wanted to become more familiar with pop culture. You know, so as not to have a blank face when someone starts talking about a TV show and such. I think I’ve watched it maybe five times, and that was when I first subscribed. These days, I understand Netflix has its own original shows, so maybe I’ll start watching it again.

I’m not much of a movie-goer, either, but I tend toward popcorn movies—the ones where you don’t have to think, just watch the explosions. So, of course I liked the Avengers movies (the ones I’ve seen, anyway). The only must-see movie I’ve been to in recent years was Dark Shadows.

Leigh: Who could you see playing Tehi and Teger in a movie version of “The Moreva of Astoreth”?

Roxanne: As for Teger, definitely Chris Hemsworth. The first time I saw him, I was startled by the close likeness. I’m not sure about Tehi, mainly because I’m not up with the actors of today, but maybe Scarlett Johansson.

Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.roxannebland.rocks

Blog: http://roxanne.bland.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roxanne-Bland-Author-289392377750996/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneBland2

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roxanne-bland-989a598/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/brlesq1/roxanne-bland-author/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/roxannebland

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/589767 (The Moreva of Astoreth)

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/721781 (The Underground: Second Edition)

Book Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Underground-Second-Roxanne-Bland-ebook/dp/B0727V364S

https://www.amazon.com/Moreva-Astoreth-Roxanne-Bland-ebook/dp/B017JY331W

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moreva-Astoreth-Roxanne-Bland/dp/0996731660

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Underground-Second-Roxanne-Bland/dp/0996731687

https://www.iauthor.uk.com/the-underground-second-edition:24297

https://www.iauthor.uk.com/the-moreva-of-astoreth:17858

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-underground-10

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-moreva-of-astoreth-2

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Roxanne2

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-moreva-of-astoreth-roxanne-bland/1122928113?ean=2940152455090

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-moreva-of-astoreth-roxanne-bland/1122928113?ean=2940152455090

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Author Autobiography:

I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories–some would call them lies–about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!

Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Some of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries. Agatha Christie and P.D. James were my favorites. Then I discovered horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time–Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and authors like them–but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy, like Lord of the Rings.

From childhood on, I was making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would tell me I was wasting my time, that I should be concentrating on my musical studies, and later, my college studies. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school. That was my first clue, but it sailed right over my head.

So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I had the flu for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested I finish the story.

Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I loved writing it, and it was then that I discovered my true avocation (maybe one day, my vocation). Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.

Interview with Weston Westmoreland, Author of “Dawn: Freedom Takes Flight”

Today, I’m excited to have the author of “Dawn”, a science fiction novel, Weston Westmoreland on my blog. Thanks for the interview, Weston!

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Nothing special here. Born in 1972, Engineer, teacher, freelance photographer, married and father of two. I like to travel when I can to visit old stones, both those found in nature, and those left by any ancient culture I can sink my teeth on. I do not read a lot, but I read all the time. I also like to trail run every other day, and I have many other hobbies in which I am not too good but that I extremely enjoy. I love to meet my friends and share a couple of beers every week if I can, and I have always lived surrounded by animals, plants, and trees, in a green land of time-rounded kindly mountains near the sea.

Leigh: What insight can you give us into the character of Arlet, son of the First Citizen?

Arlet’s life had been always based on reaction. His acts always responded to his resentment, and it got so usual that it turned into his only goal for years. This of course, ended up carving a dark hole in his soul he tried to ignore behind his nonchalant pose. The war, and the unexpected personal cost it exacted on him despite his efforts to stay detached, forced Arlet to face himself and reassess his values scale from top to bottom.

Leigh: Which actors could you see playing the roles of Brod, Duna, and Mara?

Ha ha ha that’s a nice question. I do not know. I have been asked this before, so I can give you the same answer. All my characters have faces of their own, of course, but they do not always come from real people. Brod is a guy I know, Mara takes after a Marvel comic hero called Longshot, Arlet might look like Marvel’s classic Dr. Strange (comic, not movie). Dunali comes from several women.

If you push me, Jared Leto/Jake Gyllenhaal could be Brod, Eddie Redmayne/Tom Holland could be Mara, Marion Cotillard could be Dunali, James Franco could be Arlet, and Emma Stone could be Rora. I’d love to have Clint Eastwood for General Trop or the Pilgrim. Arzo Barr could be Rob Reiner with black hair, General Suwen could be Lee Van Cleef, or a short haired Dr. Gero from Dragon Ball.

Leigh: What scene was the most difficult one to write?

Deaths. No doubt. Killing one of my “kids”, even some of the bad guys, is always difficult. The good guys are surprisingly hard to let go. Writing how the others take the deaths of their loved ones is not easy either. And it doesn’t get any better. Forget your own writings for a while, reread the death of any of your characters, and you are in for a hard time. I think it’s only fair. Killing shouldn’t be easy, not even in fiction.

Leigh: Will there be other books in the science fiction world created for Dawn? Will there be a series?

I do not think so. There were a few things I wanted to tell when I wrote Dawn and I already did. That’s how I work, I have something to tell and work a story around it. Dawn revolves around irreversibility, about how we cope with what we cannot fix. It is a story of personal journeys, of pain, but also of hope. Life is a tough ride, but also a wonderful one, worth every tear… that’s what I wanted to tell. I don’t know if I can build the other way around, and I am not sure I would want to. If something comes to mind and fits in Arweg, we’ll see. But it’s not likely. My writing ideas are going on the opposite direction, towards the far past when mammoths roamed the land…

Leigh: What’s your writing day like?

I do not have a pattern. Writing is a hobby for me, so I never push it. When something comes to my mind I write like a maniac, as though it was not me who is writing. It is a strange and wonderful experience to see how the story flows out of your mind, with a life of its own.

Leigh: What book are you currently reading?

Every year, at the beginning of September, I leave my family at home and I go on my own for 8-11 days. This year I am preparing a journey to Rome, so my reading is now somewhat chaotic. I have several non-fiction books about Ancient Rome I am pecking at, and I am also reading Last Citadel, by David Robbins, a novel set in the Battle of Kursk, during WWII.

Leigh: What are some of your hobbies?

As I said before, I have spent my life taking different hobbies and tackling them until the learning curve gets too steep. That has given me a chance to be a pretty lousy amateur hobbyist in many different disciplines, something I actually enjoy a lot. I never had the need to outstand in any single thing, hobby-wise. You have to renounce to too many things to focus on being the best at something and the world is way too full of wonderful things one can do to forget about them and center on only one. Mostly I read, take pictures, trail-run and hike with my boxer Xare. Apart from that, I like to build model kits, paint them, age them and set them in dioramas. I enjoy growing plants and trees in my garden, I play the guitar pretty terribly and sing even worse, but I used to be part of a band formed by similar geniuses and we really got our kicks. I sketch, I paint once in awhile, I carve sometimes and I love to visit Paleolithic caves. I have a little pond my father built where I breed tadpoles, newts, salamanders and dragonflies, I grow orchids and carnivore plants, and I love, love, love having long and interesting conversations and arguments (as long as they are open-minded and friendly). I love TV series like Breaking Bad, GoT, Justified, Orange is the New Black… And, of course, I write, I blog around my pictures (but not about my pictures)…

Leigh: How can readers find out more about you and your work?

Website: WestonWestmoreland.com

Blog: InspiringThoughtsandImages.com

Twitter:@WWstmoreland

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Weston-Westmoreland

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16893100.Weston_Westmoreland

Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed, Weston!

Author Biography:

Weston Westmoreland was born in the spring of 1972. He is married and father of two kids.

Weston earns a living working by himself as an engineer, teacher, and freelance photographer, but not from writing. In all honesty, even though he enjoys writing in different forums and used to blog every now and then, he does not see himself as a writer. Dawn is his first work of this kind, which is the reason why he invested in it far more effort and love than it probably deserved.

Avid reader, lone traveler, slow trail-runner, passionate photographer, terrible guitarist and worse singer, amateur modeler, persistent sketcher, weekend trekker, occasional painter and sculptor, self-taught gardener, committed father and husband, and first of all, a curious man… you can learn more about the way Weston sees life through his old but current blog at:

http://InspiringThoughtsAndImages.com

Interview with Rob Stoakes, author of “Mother and Monster”

I’m excited to host Rob Stoakes on my blog today! He’s the author of “Mother and Monster”, a new science fiction novel.

Thanks for being my guest today, Rob!

 The pleasure’s all mine.

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Rob, a writer, producer, film critic and Yorkshire’s foremost nerd. I would describe myself as a writer before anything else, given that I’ve wanted to do little else since before I can remember. I’ve tried my hands at scripts, video games, articles, all sorts, but books are my first love and the most fun thing to write for me. I’ve had a couple of short stories published before Mother and Monster, and outside of the realm of books I also host the Battleship Potemkast, a (mostly) weekly podcast about films, comedy and just about anything else that catches our interest.

Leigh: What were some of your favorite books growing up? How much influence did they have on your writing?

I’ve always been a huge fan of the sci-fi and comedy genres, especially Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegurt and Terry Pratchett. More serious sci-fi I like to dig into are the pulp style pre-50’s sci-fi and modern throwbacks to those days. For Mother and Monster, though, the biggest influences actually came from the fantasy and action genres. I took the action and pace from the James Bond series and the writings of Corinne Melville and combined it with the world building of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series.

Leigh: What’s the most challenging thing about writing from the perspective of a main character of the opposite gender?

It’s easier than you’d think, but still pretty difficult. It’s just about knowing the character inside and out. The hard part was not going too far either way and making a wilting delicate flower or John McClane in a dress, which is the two extremes I see the most. Samantha’s a rough-and-tumble grizzled fighter but her feminine side is still very important, which is was what I wanted to capture with her.

Leigh: What was the most difficult scene to write in this book?

Without spoiling the plot, there were about nine completely different endings until I finally made one I was happy with. The chapters on Earth went through a lot of changes as well.

Leigh: Do you have a set time to write? How long did it take to write “Mother and Monster”?

Depending on your perspective, either two months or six years. It was in a very different form for most of the time I’ve been writing it and was a project I abandoned and restarted a few times. The current form it is in took shape after I had written it almost line by line over two months at the beginning of 2016. Part of the reason was that I didn’t make much of a routine when I write; I now dedicate specific times in the week that I write and it has increased my output a lot.

Leigh: What are you working on currently? Can you tell us anything about it?

At the moment there are three projects I’m working on, a prospective sequel to Mother and Monster and two unrelated fantasy comedies. It really depends on what I finish first at this point. I don’t want to tease too much, but what the universe has in store for Samantha might be her toughest challenge yet.

Leigh: What draws you to the science fiction genre?

The science fiction genre is so broad and so versatile that you can tell pretty much any story you want. You have sci-fi that escapes from the real world, sci-fi that reflects our world, sci-fi that looks at where we’re going, sci-fi that is a metaphor for our past. You can be dark, child-like, introspective, silly, sad and everything in-between.

Leigh: Who edited your book and how did you select them?

I did a lot of editing myself, which is part of why it took so long to write. The publisher, Akasha Publishing, were also a big part in the editing process. I’m already very critical of my own writing, so editing comes quite naturally.

Leigh: What advice would you give new writers?

Don’t give up. Some people say success is down to luck and they’re wrong. Luck’s a big part of it, but you only get lucky if you keep trying, and if you keep trying you will be lucky. It’s difficult, and probably crazy, but you only fail when you give up.

For more practical advice, make writing part of your routine. The only way you get better at writing is by writing, and it’s easy to get into a habit of not writing. Even if you only do ten minutes a day, you’ll write more and, more importantly, better than if you write non-stop for a month then take the rest of the year out.

Leigh: What’s your favorite movie and why?

It’s difficult to narrow it to a top five, let alone one (though don’t be too surprised that Aliens is in there) but the film I keep coming back to is The Lion King. The sheer scale of it is what cinema should be all about, with big characters, big emotions and big visuals.

Leigh: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website: https://soundcloud.com/battleship-potemkast

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rob.stoakes

Amazon Author Page: Rob Stoakes on Amazon

Book Links:

UK – Mother and Monster (UK)

USA – Mother and Monster (USA)

Japan – Mother and Monster (Japan)

Thank you very much, Rob, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

And thank you for having me.