Tag Archives: imagination

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.


Tony Duxbury Interview…

My beautiful picture


Until quite recently I couldn’t afford to buy new books. As I read fast it would be too expensive, so I have had to do with secondhand books or swaps. Because of that I’ve read some really bad stuff and after I’d been encouraged by some others to try writing I thought ‘why not, I’ve read a lot of dross that has been published, why can’t someone publish mine?’ Great idea! In the end I had to publish it myself.

Jojo Smith ebook cover

Books that start with ‘The Adventures of…’ always seemed to me like schoolboy comics and as my novel is a tongue-in-cheek romp I decided to use that title to help convey the idea.

This is the very first book that I wrote. There are five others that are finished, but unpublished.

I have never written with the intension of sending any message or great truth, but I have noticed that all my main characters go through changes and that seems to be a common thread in my work.

In only one of my novels have I tried to stick to the real world and that was because it is a straight novel. In a couple, although they are fantasy, the setting is in the real world and I hope that I have made the characters realistic.

My characters are figments of my imagination, but my main characters are based on the characteristics of people that I have known throughout my life. Ordinary people in general.

I wouldn’t change anything in my book, except to make it longer, but it is probably long enough as it is.

I don’t think that I have anything specific to say to readers (I don’t have any at the moment!) My novels are for entertainment, nothing else.

My favorite part of the book, apart from writing ‘the end’ is the beginning where I set the scene for the rest of it.

Romance is something I don’t think I will attempt. I can do lust, but that’s all.

I have just finished Joe Abercrombie’s Before They Are Hanged.


Yes. I don’t know how ‘new’ they are, but I’ve enjoyed their books. Since I’ve had a kindle I’ve read some great books by Scott Lynch (fantasy), Aric Davis (paranormal), Jonathan Pidduck (humor fantasy), Thomas Hoover (historical fiction), Joe Abercrombie (sword and sorcery) and Chis Gray, who wrote Shadlowland. Since I sent Chris an email about his Arthurian Legend novel we have kept in touch, as we found that we have shared life experiences.

My dream is to become a full time writer and live off it as a career, but it seems to be taking a long time. I started writing over twenty-five years ago!


Hopefully as an established writer with a following and entertaining people all over the world with my stories (fingers crossed)

Apart from my spelling and grammar? Yes, trying to my make the characters sound true to life from the point of view of the reader.

I have never hated anything that I have written. There was one book that I attempted and got about halfway through then abandoned because I was disappointed with my efforts, but that has only happened once.

There are many books that I wish I’d been the author of, but the most prominent is the Lord of the Rings. It was one of the first fantasy novels that I’d ever read and it just knocked my socks off. Since then I have read many books that I would consider just as good, but that one is always the first that springs to mind.

Since is my first venture into marketing my work I’m still learning as I go along and so I don’t have any tips to give anyone.

The next project is my second book. It is finished, but I’m revising and cleaning it up at the moment. It also needs a cover. It is a slow process, as life seems to keep getting in the way. I’m more interested in promoting my first and getting it noticed than thinking about the second.


You can find my book on Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-JoJo-Smith-Leslie-Duxbury-ebook/dp/B00EIPXJBA

There is also a paperback version on Createspace and through Goodreads.com.  An audio excerpt can be found on: http://wp.me/p30w17-IF



Contrived Stories and Writing Prompts…

promptsI came across this post and loved the use of the prompts.


As a frequent prompt user myself; some of which I successfully morphed into novels, I am always contriving stories in my head. As writers we have the ability to create ‘something from nothing’ a good deal of the time. This is one of the reasons writing is such fun. No matter what our minds construct as a character, circumstance or environment, it is feasible within a narrative.

I set a prompt every Saturday on my writing groups calendar, to refresh and inspire. http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com – why not try one or two, just scroll backwards until you find one that appeals. Some use pictures, others are a list of words or a sentence to incorporate.

Has a prompt inspired a story for you? 

Care to share it here?

I enjoyed this prompt – limited to 300 words or less from the starting paragraph.

It wasn’t like that before, Andrea thought to herself. The previous night’s storm had caused the tree to topple over like it had never been rooted to the ground. The hole it left in the wake of the storm-induced tragedy was enormous, bigger than she could possibly fill in on her own, especially with nothing but a broken shovel. Andrea walked to the large pit that was now the center of her front yard and peered in. What was that she was seeing? It looked like a…

skeletal hand pointing upwards. Andrea turned her head as she vomited on the grass. Wiping the back of her hand across her mouth she looked down again. Bile rose but she managed to swallow it. A body under the old tree? How long had it been there? Who was it?The shock of her discovery numbed her mind. What should she do first? Call the police? Call Dan? 

A cloud moved away from the sun brightening the scene, a sparkle caught Andrea’s eye. There on one finger was a jeweled ring. Could she manage to climb down and get it? Wasn’t there a ‘finders keepers’ thing for buried treasure?  Determined to reach the ring Andrea used her shovel to steady herself into the hole. Gritting her teeth she gripped the ring and pulled, it came off the bone easily. The gem was a large sapphire in a gold setting. There were words engraved on the inside. Andrea read them and everything was dark.

Dan called out as he entered the house. Andrea did not respond. He searched the house, the garage and the garden – no Andrea. A missing person’s report was filed. Andrea was never found. Underneath the tree roots the darkness slithered over the new body – a welcomed feast.

Did you like my interpretation?

Want to use it and share?

If you want a unique prompt book try this one.


Writing Prompt Journal

Where Did Imagination Go..?


As Christmas gets ever closer the advertising machine goes into overdrive. There are numerous adverts on the television and other outlets for an abundance of toys and gift ideas for all the family. As I do not watch much television, when I happen to catch a stream of adverts I am amazed at the toy choices given. Why, you may ask? Well it is the lack of toys that encourage a child to use their imagination. Everything is themed or a character figurine or a ‘set’ of some kind or other.


I make the comparison with lego – when I was a child lego consisted of various shaped blocks with which you used your imagination to build a plethora of objects. Today lego blocks are in kits, which make a single themed toy. Where is the imagination element? How can a child conjure up fantastical creatures, futuristic vehicles and unique buildings when the blocks limit their creativity?

To be a ‘whole’ person, we need to explore our physical, spiritual and mental capacities, in essence to find what we love, what we are passionate about. If we are limited in that exploration we, and our future generations, will experience a imperfect life. 

Take a simple cardboard box at Christmas it is the focus of young children while their expensive gifts are discarded. Why does a simple box engage so? Well, because it can be ‘anything’ – a tunnel, a car, a house, and much more because their imagination makes it that way. It is limitless in its possibilities.

Let’s look at guarding our imagination and that of our children.

What is your view on imagination and creation?

cardboard box

Artistic Organizations Need To Keep Creativity Alive…

It is always sad to see established publications, publishing houses and book stores close. The latest to be reported is the Descant literary journal:




As you can see from this article another stalwart, The Capilano Review is fighting to stay afloat with a kickstarter campaign. Finances are the death toll for many literary organizations struggling in this society we live in, which wants everything ‘instantaneously’. There is no patience nowadays, all too clear with the  ‘we want it and we want it now‘  slogans bantered throughout the media. Gone are the weeks and months of waiting and saving for a particular item or placing it on our wish list.


We need to protect the ability to imagine, to create and share the plethora of arts with the world. Fight for your local literary journals, magazines, organizations and groups.

Keep the magic of creativity alive.



It’s in literature that true life can be found. It’s under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth.  Gao Xingjian

Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.  Samuel Butler

Prompt logo


Share something you created as a child with a simple object, such as a cardboard box.