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Author Interview – Marc Watson


Marc Watson

 1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A bit of both, honestly. I feel energized while I’m actually doing the writing, however if I get into it for any more than about an hour then my brain doesn’t like resetting itself and I spend the rest of a day in an exhaustive haze, as if I’d been napping, and I hate naps!

2. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Time, or the lack thereof. I have very little personal time to write, embrace whatever I can get. I don’t have enough, and what I get can be taken away from me so easily.

3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I flirt with it from time to time, but only because there’s already a Marc Watson author (who is a really great guy who is a thrill ride engineer from Florida), as well as one who is a British comedian, and another is the Content Lead for everything Minecraft. All industries I’m involved in. Hmm… maybe I do need one. If I did, it would likely be just adding my middle initials or something simple. I like my name.

4. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Seeing as I’m relatively new to this world, my list of writer friends is sparse at best. I’ve met a few times with Edmonton horror writer Konn Lavery. I’m currently teamed up with an old friend Patrick Yokan Persaud, who is the lead writer at Hardmode Games.
Konn has been great as he lives nearby and sees a similar world to what I see, books and sales-wise, and Patrick and I grew up together, so if something plays well with him then I know it works for me and the audience I’m trying to reach.

5. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Why not both? I’ve written an interconnected universe with my ‘Ryukyu’ series which will start in March with ‘Catching Hell Pt. 1’, plus I have other stories that loosely tie into it such as my debut novel ‘Death Dresses Poorly’ which makes vague references to the ‘Ryuujin’ world, and then I have works in progress like ’12:13’ that completely stand alone. I don’t think there’s any reason why I can’t be known for stand-alone works as well as my epic fantasy world.

6. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Certainly the cost of attending my first When Words Collide writer’s conference. I only began taking writing seriously on February 29th, 2016. When WWC hit in August, that was my first exposure to a collection of other writers, agents, and like-minded individuals. The experiences and connections I took away from that weekend still resonate with me today.

7. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
My ‘words have power’ moment really didn’t come until I was in my late teens. I’d been an avid reader all of my life up to that point, but in a grade 13 English class (reminder I grew up in Ontario, so that’s not weird) we were assigned ‘The Shipping News’ by E. Annie Proulx. The book remains my favorite of all time. I read that book three times during that few weeks of study.
However, while I was getting my mind transformed by this heartbreaking and utterly beautiful story, many in the class admitted repeatedly to not understanding it, not reading it, and generally not caring about it at all. I was simply baffled because I was so engrossed and moved to the point of tears, and all these other kids my age just let it pass them by. It was there that I saw the real power of words: that they mean different things to different people and they always will.

8. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Well I could say ’The Shipping News’ and I’d stand by it, but it won a Pulitzer Prize so I guess no level of recognition will be enough for me.
So I’d have to say that ‘Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower 4’ by Stephen King would fit the bill. As a middle part of a monstrously over-arching Dark Tower story, it can be so easily overlooked, but the individual story of a young Roland and his friends encountering the true evil in Roland’s life from that point forward face to face, while also being a beautiful and realistic story of young forbidden love. I just love it. It’s very tight, while offering massive expositional dumps into the mind of such an iconic and enigmatic protagonist.

9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A great question, and a popular one so I’m ready for it! I really have two, and it completely depends on what I’m working on. For my epic fantasy works, I’m very much a house cat. Lazy, slow, methodical, with random fits and starts of energy when I write the action pieces. When writing something like ‘Death Dresses Poorly’, which I smashed out in a tight six weeks, it’s a squirrel: high-energy, fast paced, with no time to slow down.

10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Too many… I’m sporadic when it comes to my writing, so I have no issues dropping something for another project I want get into. On the up side, I never ever suffer from writer’s block!
My ‘Ryuujin’ stories in various stages of completion number eight. Side stories are another three.
My standalone stories are at two right now, so doing the math I have thirteen actual and legitimate works in progress. Not just ideas on a napkin. I’m talking works with real words on a page.

11. What does literary success look like to you?
Buying my family a dinner from the profits of my works. Since ‘Death Dresses Poorly’ just came out, and ‘Catching Hell Pt. 1’ is still more than a month away, the checks aren’t rolling in yet so I’m not there. Whether it’s a lot or a little, when I take my beautiful wife and kids out for a meal (be it Wendy’s or the best steakhouse in town) I’ll feel complete. The goal will be achieved.
Not very exciting, is it? I like to say I’m the anti-author. I’m not planning my movie trilogies or bigger houses. I don’t have time for that kind of thing. I need to walk the path of reality, and reality says I’m a 38 year old man with responsibilities and a job to do every minute of the day. The day I provide for my family based solely on the profits of my brain musings, how glorious will that be!

12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
None! The great thing about being a fantasy writer with a penchant for massive global extinction is that I get to start fresh with ‘facts’ all the time!
In truth, I’ll do a bit when dealing with realistic place like in ‘Death Dresses Poorly’, which takes place in the Seattle area (which I’m admittedly not terribly familiar with). I want to make sure I get place names correct, or travel times between locations. Mundane stuff like that.

13. How many hours a day/week do you write?
Four or five, usually. My lunch hours at work are the extent of most of my writing time, and sometimes I need to use those for things like this! Not that I’m complaining. I’m thankful for the chance, but it’s taken me two lunch hours to answers your questions.
Once I get home, it’s kids kids kids, and I’ve never been good at writing in silence after they go to bed. I’m not complaining. ‘Catching Hell’ was original 225k words, written over lunch hours for a year. Anything is possible with patience, especially if it’s a story you really want to tell.


14. How do you select the names of your characters?
Unlike most authors I speak with, naming things, be it people, places, or things, is one of my favorite things to do! When I was asked to create a huge list of names and places for my work with Hardmode Games, I practically wet myself in joy!
Much of it I simply can’t answer. I find names I like, do an ounce of research to make sure I didn’t inadvertently recreate a famous Nazi death camp general or something, and go from there. Some I’ve known forever like Aryu, one of my protagonists in ‘Catching Hell’, and others I just threw in like Ethan from ‘Death Dresses Poorly’. Fun fact: Ethan originally had my oldest son’s name, but after some conversations with my wife, we agreed we perhaps didn’t want to stigmatize the kid with the same handle as this unenviable character I’d written, so I changed it. I can’t live without Ethan now.

15. What was your hardest scene to write?
Well I’ll avoid spoilers as much as possible, but the ending of ‘Catching Hell Pt. 2’ wins for sure. From the beginning I wanted to write a scene I’d envisioned for as long as I can remember. Something different. Something that discards the fiction clichés and tropes we’re all familiar with, while also making it believable and earned. When the conclusion is reached, the reader says “That’s realistic. That’s what should happen.” I like to think I did that, but only time will tell.

16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I’m a man awash in fantasy. From a young age I gravitated to fantasy stories and imaginative science fiction. I absolutely have a hyperactive imagination and these genres fill that brain-hole so perfectly.
When I entered into my formative writing years, anime and manga became a huge part of my life. The Japanese were telling stories with such heart and depth and unbridled creativity that I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in them. In the end, the answer to your question is a terribly simple one: I write what I know.

17. How long have you been writing?
Although I like to think I’ve always been creative in my writings, the commitment really took hold when I was 15 and 16 years old. I had this mental vision of a long, epic fantasy story and I just started writing it down with a pen and paper. It consumed me so much that I wrote a trilogy entirely by hand, which became the basis of my ‘Ryuujin’ world. I still have the dent in my finger from the pen to this day. When I pulled my head up from the binders, I’d almost flunked out of high school. After some hard work and creativity, along with the help of a teacher or two that I was lucky to have, I pulled through, but the fuse was lit.

18. What inspires you?
Life. Life is the greatest inspiration of all. I have a favorite saying that I unashamedly admit I came up with: I don’t like good books, I like good stories. The medium is not important. When I look at the struggles of my loved ones, or the triumphs of strangers on the other side of the world, I see so many stories that give me a reason to keep talking. They’re not all victories. There are enough tragedies to remind ourselves that there’s bad with the good, but that’s the cost of living. I see my kids do things that move me to tears with their bravery, so I better get to telling what stories I can in order to help show them the things I’ve seen and how I see them.

19. How do you find or make time to write?
I don’t. I just take the time when I get it. I don’t believe in forcing myself to write by setting daily goals. Challenges like NaNoWriMo are great for some, but for me it can go walk off a cliff. My best writing comes when I don’t pressure myself to actually write. I just need to accept that I may have to go for days or weeks without writing, and I’m ok with that.

20. What projects are you working on at the present?
Right now I’m helping market ‘Death Dresses Poorly ’alongside publisher Fluky Fiction, I’m getting ‘Catching Hell Pt. 1’ ready with its publisher Double Dragon Press for the March launch, and I’m doing a decent amount of writing work with the Hardmode team on their original IP, which is a secret but hopefully you’ll see the results of that work later this year.

21. What do your plans for future projects include?
Well the biggest one is ‘Catching Hell Pt. 2’, since just having the first part of a duology is no fun for anyone. It’s a finished work (I wrote it all at one time, but it was too big so I had to split it up) but it hasn’t been edited and prepped to my liking, so I want to get that done and hopefully find it a home before people forget my name.

22. Share a link to your author website.
I can be found at http://www.marcwatson.ca, on Twitter and Instagram at @writewatson, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marcwroteabook


Marc is the author of genre fiction (primarily Fantasy and Science Fiction of all lengths). He began writing at the age of 15 with a pen and paper, and never really stopped, even though until recently it was more of a background to him than my defining trait. He has been published on flash fiction site www.101words.org, as well as comedy site www.thecorrectness.com. Marc has been a student of the excellent writing classes at Athabasca University for a number of years.

He lives in Calgary, Alberta, and was spawned out of the depths of Southern Ontario. Marc is a husband, proud father of two, and can be sometimes found at an actual job. An avid outdoors-man, martial artist of some high repute, baseball player of very little repute, and lover of all Mexican foods. One day ‘World Famous Poutine Aficionado’ will be on his business cards.

You can also find Marc on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marcwroteabook, and on twitter at @writewatson. For public appearances and interviews, he is proudly represented by Creative Edge Publicity.


Interview with Verna McKinnon…

Tenacious – definition: characterized by keeping a firm hold on : highly retentive

Please welcome Verna McKinnon, an author of fantasy and science fiction.

Verna McKinnon

a)      What do you enjoy most about writing? Creating new worlds and telling stories.  I have always had an active imagination.  I like to create stories I want to read.

b)     What age did you start writing stories/poems?  I use to make up stories as a kid.  I was always interested in writing, but too shy to admit it for a long time. 

c)      Has your genre changed or stayed the same?  Fantasy and Science Fiction has always been my main genre.  I am a proud Nerd Princess.

d)     What genre are you currently reading? Fantasy & Science Fiction.  I’m so easy.

e)      Do you read for pleasure or research or both?  Both.  I love researching cultures, history, and mythology.  I am a secret academic from that perspective.  As an author of fantasy and science fiction, it is invaluable to create worlds and cultures in my stories.   You want to develop something tactile and fully dimensional for the reader.


f)       Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? As an adult-my husband, Rick Hipps, who is also a great writer.  As a kid-Star Trek-and many other attempts at science fiction on TV when I was a kid.  I love imagination and where it can take you-I also loved Twilight Zone & Outer Limits.  Plus it was the only place where women had more to do than bake pies.   I was a little kid but they held more interest for me than other things, and it gave me an interest to read the literature on my own. 

g)      Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? Wow.  That’s tough.  I have many I love-even my bad guys like Koll the Sorcerer or Obsydia the Bloodstone Queen.  But Belwyn the owl from my Gate of Souls novel is a favorite.  He is the bedrock that takes care of Runa, Mellypip, and Cathal.  Belwyn is a thousand year old owl familiar with a sharp wit and sharper beak-he takes care of everyone and brooks no nonsense.  His dialogue is some of the best.  He has a dry wit and does not believe in false morality.  He has faced down a heap of evil and tragedy in his life, yet he is the caretaker of the group. 

h)      Where is your favorite writing space?  My study at home with all my little creative pictures and things around me.  Also I love the Seattle coffee shops.  If you give me caffeine and sugar, I am pretty happy.

i)        Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?  I must admit I start out as a seat of the pants writer on some levels.  I was that way with my first novel.  All in my head and I just wrote.  I am better now.  I get an idea and I go with it.  I have scraps of paper and notebooks I fill with the idea for a book.  My initial writing is chaotic with the new idea.  Then when I have written some bits and feel it can grow into a real novel, I begin to format my world/story bible and detailed characters, religion, cultures. 

j)       What inspires your ideas/stories?  Anything.  I am crazy that way.  I play a lot of “what if”

k)     Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?  Alas, I am alone in Seattle.  I want to belong to one again.  Anyone want to adopt me? 

Gate of Souls

l)        Do you have a book published? Gate of Souls, A Familiar’s Tale Book 1.  It is published though Aberrant Dreams Publishing.  I am available in hardback, softback, and Kindle.  You can find me online at Amazon.com, Booksamillion.com, Barnesandnoble.com, & Aberrant Dreams website.  It is a 4 book series and the next book, Tree of Bones, will be out when the cover art is done and we do galleys.

m)   If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? There are so many I admire.  Sadly so many of my favorites, like David Eddings, Roger Zelazny and Ray Bradbury, are gone.  I do love classic fantasy literature so unless we can summon Robert E Howard from the grave, one of my living writing idols is Tanith Lee.  Her “Tales of the Flat Earth” and “Birthgrave” series rock.   

n)     Where can readers find you and your blog?  www.vernamckinnon.com.  That is my website and my blog is there too.  You can read me pontificate on the process of being a forlorn Princess of Heroic Fantasy.  I also will welcome anyone who wants to be a follower on my blog-no weird cult stuff, just writing wisdom and some humor.


 o)      Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?  Yes-I am working on two novels now.  The 3rd in my Familiar’s Tale series, Fires of Rapiveshta, (this one has lots of dragons) and Bard Maiden of Rhulon, a new heroic fantasy novel with a female heroine, Rose Greenleaf, a Dwarven Bard who flees an unwanted marriage in her home of Rhulon for adventure with the tall folk in the southern kingdom of Tirangel.  Well, she gets her adventure-a little more than she can handle too!  

Thank you Verna for a wonderful interview.

How Conspicuous are You..?

Conspicuous – definition: easily seen or noticed; readily visible or observable


As authors we have to overcome becoming conspicuous to the world. With an internet presence we are readily contactable and visible to anyone who wishes to get to ‘know’ us. Writing may be a solitary pastime but our face-book pages, blogs, twitter and a multitude of other internet sites we subscribe to, spreads our persona all over the globe.

Depending on how comfortable you are, a blog can be, not only a vehicle for selling your work, but will also give our readers/followers an insight into the author behind the books. I recently read a blog post questioning if a Q&A page on a blog/author site was a good idea. This started me thinking what questions I should pose and what was the best way to answer them. Currently a work in progress.

Have you got a Q&A section on your website?

If you do have one, what has the reaction been like?


Once we have an internet presence established there comes the task of keeping the information interesting and current. I’m sure there are not many writers challenging themselves to a blog post daily, like yours truly, but even weekly or monthly updates take a good deal of consideration. We have decided on a ‘theme or topic’ and have to create new content for it. Our words will be forever available in cyberspace.

The outcome is a connection to people far and wide, allowing us to share our writing life.

Do you have an internet story to share?

Interview with G.M. Baker…

Today’s word is an obvious description of G.M. Baker – Meticulous – Definition: extremely or overly careful in small details. He constructed his interview really well and keeps his work in the forefront. Well done Mitch!

G.M. Baker

a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
There are characters that are obvious to me, and who I appreciate from the get go. Other characters grow on me and often surprise me in the course of writing. An example of a character I really enjoy working with is “Marcy Whitehawk” from “Kerby ‘Webb’ Webster & Kinny the Rodeo Hound” (XoXo Publishing 2012 Young Adult Novel). Marcy’s voice, her reference point in life is her constant reference to her legacy, her relatives who have passed on, the Ancients. To hear her say “Oh my dear Ancients” always brings a smile.
An example of a character that has grown on me, and surprised me in the writing of the second novel in series is Julie Emerine from “Lethal Believers Paedo” (Master Koda Select Publishing, Forthcoming Spring 2013 Paranormal Psych Mystery). This character has evolved from a manipulated victim, to sufferer for a cause, to a leader. The richness and depth of this character continues to evolve to the point where the arc appears limitless in a very positive way. There is a pride, evolving in me from the resilient nature of this character and I so enjoy the influence it has on me and the writing of other characters I am writing as well.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I am fortunate to be publishing in four genres and continue to write in all of them. The question for me is not about ‘one-type’, but working between diverse genres keeps my writing fresh and interesting. My most basic criteria when writing is to create something original and interesting. As long as I can create original and interesting characters and stories in the genre I am involved in, then there is and will remain favor among them all.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing?
When characters come to life, plot lines come together and themes deliver promise to a trusting reader.
d) Have you got a favorite place to write?
I like writing at times in private and at times in public. What remains constant, is that when I am writing, it’s a discipline that does not seem like work. Hence, it’s not a matter of ‘favorite’ place, as much as preferred places conducive to the discipline.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Both styles come into play. I also write in different formats that effect style. For example, I will write a 25,000 screenplay and then adapt it to a 60,000 novel. The growth of a novel for me comes in many ways and I believe to have the variety is important. Strict formula is not for me.
f) What inspires your stories?
Man it is everywhere! Can you feel it? God I love the smell of inspiration in the morning.
g) What are you currently reading?
A book about a very famous gypsy tribe, a book on synesthesia and a book about the most notorious assassin produced in the modern Mexican Drug gangs and cartels.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
Nope. Do you? 😉
i) Do you have any pets?
I lost many pets this last year. This is the first time in a very long time I have been without a canine companion.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Stony Plain Writer’s Group
k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
About grade, six (age 11-12) I started enjoying the creative process. First multi-media art and then the writing began later on in high school as my commitment to sport activities lessened.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
(Contemporary Fiction, e-Published 2011 XoXo Publishing – Toronto)








(SCI-FI e-published 2012) (Presently changing to New Publisher and Distribution for Series Deal)


(Young Adult Novel, 2012 XoXo Publishing – Toronto)






(Contemporary Fiction, Forthcoming Spring 2013 XoXo Publishing – Canada).


“LETHAL BELIEVERS: PAEDO” (Paranormal Psyche Mystery, Forthcoming, Spring 2013 Master Koda Select Publishing – U.S.A.)



m) If you could meet one, author whom would it be and why?
Richard Matheson. I would like to bend ideas with this ever so creative man and his mind.
n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I do not think I would be limiting myself, if I were of means to truly choose in the first place.
o) What is your favorite movie of all time?
“River Runs Through It” (Robert Redford, 1992); “Man on Fire” (Tony Scott, 2005); 61* (Billy Chrystal, 2010) and, “The Sand Lot” (David Mickey Evans, 1993) are a few of my favorites.
p) Where can readers find you and your blog?








TWITTER for G. Mitchell Baker






q) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
Oh my, you would not believe… *wink*. I always have multiple projects at various stages of completion.
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
An appreciative book buying public is always the best supporter. I hesitate to engage in mentoring anymore and do enjoy the role of encourager when there is the opportunity…
Thank you so much for participating in this interview – Happy Writing!
Thank You Mandy, It has been a great pleasure.