Category Archives: Muse

Author Interview Timothy Friend


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Timothy Friend

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Most days writing leaves me energized. Some days I procrastinate, and on those days it’s exhausting.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

In the early stages of a project any distraction has the potential to be writing Kryptonite. When I get deeper into the story and the pages have started to add up distractions have less impact.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I’ve never given any serious thought to using a pseudonym.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have friends who are photographers, filmmakers, and musicians, but no writers. The closest thing would be a couple of professors who have had a strong influence on me.

gunmen

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

So far all of my work has been stand-alone. I like the idea of doing a series, and plan to revisit the characters from my western novella “Gunmen” soon.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best money I ever spent as a writer was purchasing a copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I highly recommend it.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I was in the fifth grade my class read the Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day,” and it put me in a deep funk. That was the first time I thought about words on a page having any sort of lasting power. Later in the year we read “Flowers for Algernon,” which further strengthened that notion. Looking back now, it seems the fifth grade was one seriously depressing year.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“The Girl Next Door” by Jack Ketchum.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A giant tortoise. They’re slow and steady, and they live a long time.

Rocket Rider

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I currently have two unpublished books. One is a horror novel, the other is a crime novel.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Literary success, to me, is continuing to be published. Financial reward is always nice, but honestly, if money were the primary goal I would take up a different occupation.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t like to hold up the writing to do research, as that tends to kill off my enthusiasm. If I am writing about a different time period, or an unusual location, I’ll do some light reading on the subject before I begin writing. After that I limit my research to specific questions that arise as I’m working on the story. By the end of the process I find I’ve done a good deal of research in total, which leaves me prepared to fix my mistakes in the rewrite.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I try to write three hours a day, six days a week- 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Names have to be just right for me be able to move forward. They can come from anywhere. I’ve found character names on road signs, cleaning products and old comic books. Sometimes they come quickly, sometimes they are a struggle. But when I find the right one I can feel it.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Any scene where I have to kill a character I’ve grown to like is difficult to write. I wrote a death scene for a dog that was especially rough.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I began writing horror, and most of my stories involved criminals. I quickly discovered I was more interested in the criminals than the horror, and so I shifted my focus to crime fiction. I find when I write in other genres I still tend to focus on criminals.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since the second grade. That was the year children’s author Scott Corbett (The Lemonade Trick) came to my second grade class to speak. Up until then I had no real idea that making up stories was an actual job that people had. Once I found that out I knew no other job would do. I’ve been writing ever since.

  1. What inspires you?

Good writing inspires me. Especially by writers who have a better facility with language than I do.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I’m fortunate enough to have a schedule that allows me the time to write.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

At the moment I’m looking for a home for my crime novel “The Pretenders.” It was set to be released last year, but unfortunately the publisher closed shop before that happened.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Future projects include the previously mentioned “Gunmen” sequel.

  1. You can find out more about my work here: http://www.timothyfriend.net/

Short stories included in:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

Timothy Friend is a writer and independent filmmaker whose fiction has been published in Crossed-Genres, Thuglit, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir. He is the writer and director of the feature film, “Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula,” distributed by Indican Pictures. He holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Author Interview – Sandra Hurst


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Sandra Hurst

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

That definitely depends on what I’m writing. Some scenes flow so easily onto the paper with very little effort. My imagination sees the pictures, hears the voices, and obeys. Other times it can be emotionally harrowing. It can take me days to get over the death of a beloved character, even though I made the decision to kill her off.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Handling my own nature is the hard part for me. I tend to be very distractible and moderately obsessive. There is always that one more piece of research, a new book to read, and, Oh Look! I got a facebook mention. My mind will bounce to anything new and shiny and sometimes when it lands on a topic I find it hard to let go and get back to the writing. There is a definite benefit to this type of mind though, once I start writing and the scenes are flying, I will keep going until someone pulls me out.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I actually do write under a synonym. I work in the legal profession and was advised that it might be better not to use my real name for security purposes.

yketa4

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have been so lucky! Two of the first people I met when I started to write were Rebekah Raymond and J.J. Reichenbach, they, along with several others convinced me that my ‘baboon crap’ was worth the effort and helped me get started learning the craft of writing.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

My original plan was three standalone books in the same world. But the story doesn’t seem to be working out that way.  It looks like being a three-book series.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

In the beginning I’d say joining the Alexandra Writers Centre Society, a local writers group that runs classes on everything from writing technique, to plotting, to poetry. Once my book was underway, I hired a good editor whose knowledge of her craft and determination to present my work at its best is the reason Y’keta is a polished, professional read.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I was little, we had a burgundy set of children’s encyclopaedia’s and I would put on performances in the living room and insist that my family listen to the stories and legends that I read. I grew up on the stories of Robin Hood, King Arthur, and the Fae. What else could I ever be?

I love the authors who can make words dance and sentences MEAN things. This has led me to authors like Guy Gavriel Kay, and Don Dellilo. I would give my left ovary (not so dramatic a thing since at 55 those parts are hardly crucial) to sit down with either of these gentlemen, or even better their writing notes, for an afternoon!

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

That’s a hard question, there are so many good novels that go just under the popular radar. For me M.K. Wren’s Sword of the Lamb is a definite favourite. How will a government that has spanned centuries react when faced with political and social unrest? How does this affect the people born to a world that has never changed? If you enjoyed Asimov’s foundation series, you will probably like this one.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Oh fun! I think I would take a raven as my spirit animal. They are known for being wise birds but also for having a sense of fun and mischief.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Eeep. Do I have to admit it? At least eight, there is just not enough time!

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

For me its all about the reader’s reaction. Yes, the sales are great (PLEASE – buy the books), but if one person says to me that my words opened their eyes to a bigger world, or that I showed them the power of words and the beauty that they can bring, then I’m a success.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I originally didn’t think that I was researching to write a book when I started out to write Y’keta. About five years ago, my husband found out that he was part Cree. At that time, I went back to the indigenous legends I’d learned growing up in Northern Alberta as a way to teach my son the history and culture that my husband never learned.  For more than four years I studied the language and history of several different indigenous cultures.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

When the words are flowing I write two to three hours a day. When things aren’t so easy and I’m struggling with a scene or a plot point it’s harder, but I try to keep to writing something every day. Whether poetry, or as part of my ongoing books.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I try to find names that will work within the cultures of the story taking into consideration the ‘hardness’ or ‘softness’ of certain sounds and whether they match the character. In Y’keta, I borrowed the name of a traveller that my friend met in Ontario (Y’keta) and adjusted the name of my cousin, Sian.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In my work-in-progress, D’vhan, there is a scene where a young child dies. Writing it was emotionally crippling and took me to some very dark areas of my past. It was a necessary part of the story, but very very hard.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I write fantasy because the words are my way of exploring a world I can’t see. I’m a mythmaker, there is nothing that gives me more creative juice than asking a question and then building a world to find the answer. Myths and fantasy give us the opportunity to look at ourselves in new and often unusual ways, to play a huge game of ‘what if’ and see where the answers will fall. I find the basic understanding is the same when I’m working on romance books, except that you are now playing what if with relationships and feelings.

  1. How long have you been writing?

According to my mum I have always written stories and poems. I wrote my first ‘official’ poem in Grade four and had my first work published in a school magazine in 1977.

  1. What inspires you?  

There are so many people that inspire me, whether they are historical figures or literary ones. I think the common thread in all of them is that they had the opportunity to quit, every reason to say I’m too old, too tired, it’s just easier to let it be someone else’s problem. This kind of hero, unwilling, often flawed, yet willing to step up, gets me every time.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Finding time to write is an ongoing issue for me. I have started to take myself on writing dates, the people at the local Starbucks know my name and how I want my coffee, they don’t ask anymore.  I also have a great group of writer friends that hold sleepovers now and then. Much laughter, much wine, and many words have come from these weekends.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’ve got three projects on the go at the moment, with a never empty folder of ideas on the backburner.

The next book in the Sky Road Trilogy, D’vhan, is in the ‘necklace’ stage of drafting. I’ve got several pearls but I’m missing the chain of story movement that will tie them together.

I am working on a romance that will be part of an upcoming series of novellas with my contribution, Peace Out, slated for May 2018.

There is also a chapbook of poetry in the works, although at the moment the prose has centre stage.

Romance novella, Peace Out releases on May 4th.  Video.  

Peace Out video link. 

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I am plotting a YA Fantasy based on a world where the center of the earth is molten magic and drilling is creating imbalance and magic quakes – Geomages! I’ve also got poetry,plans for a darker themed adult fantasy about a dying world that even the gods have abandoned, two other romance novels and a space opera. So much to do! It’s going to be fun.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

Website:       http://www.delusionsof literacy.com

Twitter           _SandraHurst
Facebook:    SandraHurst.Author

Writing Prompt Wednesday


deech_roots

Your challenge is to write a poem or short story using this image above. It can be the start or ending of a story, a sense of place or wherever the image inspires your Mse to write.

My Muse decided on a poem.

Roots

 

Revealed by the eroded earth

Spindly, twisting fingers, laid bare

Within their numerous fissures

Tiny creatures take refuge there

 

Moss growing in damp crevices

Bringing colour to the grey

Patterns of light and shadow                                    

Make numerous images play

 

Strands of ivy twisting upward,

Slowly consuming its host

Feeding off wrinkled bark

Crumbling it into compost

 

Growing steadily each year

Nourished by the sun and rain

Weathered by the seasons

Its character all too plain

 

Author Interview – Richard Paolinelli


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both at times, as strange as that may sound. When the words are flowing I seem to gain energy as I go along. But there are times, usually when I am pushing to make a hard deadline, when I feel like I’m dragging about five tons of brick around on my shoulders and it is difficult to write the next sentence.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The Internet. It is just too easy to hop on to check my email “really quick” and get distracted by something and three hours later suddenly remember I was supposed to be writing. The house hound also tries his best to distract, usually when I am really on a roll.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Briefly. But I was writing for newspapers for so long that it just seemed natural to continue to do so when I transitioned to fiction writing. Plus, I really dislike posting in online forums under fake screen names as I feel that leads to bad behavior by folks who feel they can get away with anything without any accountability. So I have always made it a point to put my real name behind everything I write, online or off.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I know so many of them that if I tried to list them all here we’d break the internet. Not to mention I’d probably forget some of them and then have to spend the rest of the year apologizing. But in their own ways they have all helped me become a better writer. Sometimes it is from just reading their work and seeing how they develop a character or lay out a scene. Sometimes it comes from the way they market their books or deal with unfair criticism.

 

 

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Almost all of them are stand alone, although I have readers asking me when the sequel to Escaping Infinity is coming out. I do have one trilogy though, the Jack Del Rio political thriller series. Writing in so many different genres as I do I very much doubt there a way for me ever to be able to connect them. All I really hope for is that they are all enjoyable stories that readers continue to want to read.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The $20 that I spent on three Himekami CDs many years ago (pre-MP3 era). Listening to the beautifully enchanting synthesized music produced by this group from Japan seems to put me into the perfect state of mind to write.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I sat down one day at the age of 4 and heard a man say that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. It took a few more years for me to fully understand the concept, but those words made perfect sense to 4-year-old me. It wasn’t what a person looked like that mattered, it is what they said and did that was all that counted. I’ve always strived to keep that lesson in my heart in the half-century that has passed since I first heard them and am reminded of that day every time I read those words again.

 

 

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Time Traveller’s Never Die by Jack McDevitt. I loved the way Jack (I get to call him that because we’ve worked together on a Sherlock Holmes anthology and corresponded a few times since) dealt with the paradox of time travelling and it was this book, and discovering Jack’s path to becoming a writer at a later age, that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46. 

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Polar Bear. Because they are patiently relentless in their pursuit of their goal. For them it is their next meal but for me it is getting the current novel finished so I can begin working on the next one.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

About 30 in various states of started but not finished to just outline-only.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

When I have finished a book and it is available to be purchased on Amazon or in a bookstore. That means another story of mine – another world or universe of my creation – is available to be read and, hopefully, enjoyed.

 

 

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

With my two non-fiction books I spent years going through newspaper microfilms, online searching and interviews before I sat down and started writing them. It probably worked out to two years each from starting research to writing completed and the book released.

With my fiction works I’d say I research for about a week before I start writing. Even then I find I will pause writing at points to do additional research when something does not sound right or if I make a change in the original outline along the way.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

At least 30 hours a week and sometimes as many as 60 depending on other things going on in my life.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I have a couple of ways. Usually the names seem to come to me and I go with them if they “feel” right. But I discovered a website that generates first and last names based on several factors of race, ethnicity, gender and genre. I’ll scroll through a few randomly generated names until I find a combination I like.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In Reservations which was the first Jack Del Rio novel. I had decided to kill off one of the major characters and when I got to the chapter when the death was to occur I found it harder to write with each passing word. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to kill the character or not. It took me 14 hours to write that chapter and I recall finishing it, saving it and then walking away from my desk in tears when I finished writing the death scene that ended the chapter. It felt like I had murdered a loved one. But the response I have received from readers has convinced me that I made the correct decision.

 

 

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My early books were sports non-fiction, which were easy to do coming off 20 years as a sportswriter, and then my initial fiction works were political mystery-thrillers. But my first love as a young reader was science fiction and that is the genre I will be doing most of my writing in for the foreseeable future.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since 1983 when I started as a freelance writer. Aside from being the lead writer for two issues of a comic book series in 1986, I started as a full-time novelist in 2011 after I retired as a newspaper writer/editor in 2010.

  1. What inspires you? 

 My family. I want to leave a legacy in my writings that my children and grandchildren and their grandchildren can be proud of long after I am gone.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I am fortunate in that this is my full-time job so I have a nice routine that allows me to write on a regular schedule. Having worked for 20 years in newspapers where I was expected to write 2-3,000 words a day has made it something of a habit now, one that seems as natural to me as breathing.

legacy

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

Many. I am helping finish the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( www.sffcguild.com)  .

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I have three science-fiction/fantasy projects lined up I want to finish by the end of 2018 – When the Gods Fell, Cursed Firstborn and Seadragon.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://scifiscribe.com/

 

Genres of Literature – Short Stories


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The definition of a short story is a piece of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting. Short stories originally emerged from traditional oral storytelling in the 17th century. In terms of word count they are usually under 7,500 words, however this word count can vary. Due to the diversity of short story content it is not easy to characterize them, they may differ between genres, countries, eras, and commentators. They feature a small cast of characters and focus on a self-contained incident using plot, resonance, literary techniques or other dynamic components but not in as much depth as a novel.

Short stories are considered, by many, as an apprenticeship form preceding more lengthy works, however they are a crafted form in their own right. Short story writers usually publish their narratives within a collection as part of an artistic or personal expression form.

This concentrated form of narrative can be theorized through traditional elements, such as exposition, complication, crisis, climax and resolution although not all follow this pattern. For instance, modern short stories start in the middle of the action and do not include exposition. Slightly longer works do include climax, crisis or a turning point but many do end abruptly or are left ‘open’ and can or cannot have a moral or practical lesson.

Have you written short stories? Is that how you started writing?

Do you find the short prose form enables you to ‘refresh’ your Muse when immerse in larger works?

I have a steampunk story (7700 words) that I am hoping to find a venue for, whether in an anthology or some other publication. So if you have a lead please share it.

My publisher has a couple of awesome short story authors published. Karen Probert and Barbie-Jo Smith. Karen’s characterizations and attention to detail is incredible and Barbie-Jo has the most humorous tales. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/catalog/books