Saturday, February 22, 2014

This site has moved!

Angelika Rust, and all her useless ramblings, have left the building and moved over to
See you there!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Meet Alex Mitchell!

Alex is one of the sweetest, most kind-hearted persons I've ever met - the type who throws love bombs in the middle of a fight.
Well, lurve bombs, to be exact. Irish ancestry.
She draws people like flames do moths.
Judging from the snippets I know, her biography would make an astounding read. It has everything from finding herself, aged 15,
in a hotel in Paris with nothing but her passport and a corset,
to almost marrying a lord.
I truly hope she'll write it all down one day, though I fear she'll have
to tag it as fiction, as nobody would believe it were true, and,
as Tom Clancy said, opposed to reality, fiction has to make sense.

Now let's ask her a few questions, and see if we can get a bit
of a look at what's going on inside her mind.

Who are you?

I keep asking myself this.

Where are you?

Singapore via Edinburgh via London via Grand Cayman that case, apart from jet-lagged and travel-sick, how are you?

You should never ask an Irishwoman that! You’ll be here for the week!

I'd love to! I bet that would be fun.
Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.

Three Months of Chaos. It is an amphetamine fueled, semi-autobiography of my days before medication.

Why did you write it?

Initially, it was cathartic and then it became this sort of King Lear dreamscape with villains and drug addicts in distress.

Is there a song you'd associate with your book?

Venus in Furs by LouReed

Oh, I used to love this song. And it fits perfectly.
What are you currently working on?

A zombie novella series, a supernatural thriller and flash fiction.

Here's probably the perfect spot to link Frankie's flash fiction site, where one can find writing prompts and some high quality stuff: 365/52. Alex posts there as tabby007.

Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

Everything. I can be sitting having dinner and I make up whole plays about the other patrons. That one is a gangster, that one likes to eat live fish, that one is about to kill his wife. You know, those sunny sort of ideas.

I bet the poor people don't feel at all watched.
Who is your favorite author?

At the moment, Joe Abercrombie and Audrey Niffennegger. I have this fascination with twins. And Catholicism. Although not necessarily at the same time. Well, sometimes.

If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

Invisibility, but I warn you that I would make A LOT of trouble.

Havoc, no doubt. 
What are you addicted to or can't live without?

My six year old. He charms the pants of shopkeepers and we get free stuff all the time.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Meet C. McDonald!

Yessss! Double yessss, and triple yessss. Why? Because I'm tremendously excited to have C. McDonald here for an interview. I'm always happy when I can do a bit of drum banging for another writer, especially one as incredibly talented, challenging and versatile as C., but in this case I'm over the moon.
The reason is quite simple.
I first came across C. on authonomy. C. had uploaded a few chapters of the second part of an epic fantasy trilogy, and I went and had a bit of a read. After one chapter, I almost didn't read on. Starting with the second part of something is always a bit difficult, and since it is written in an almost Shakespearean English, my weak little non-native speaker soul wanted to cry uncle and run. I don't know what compelled me to continue on to the second chapter anyway. Not that it matters. Because I ended up reading the entire book. And then I asked C. for the first part. And I can't wait for the third. C. isn't a writer, but a weaver, a wordsmith, a perfectionist.
A mutual friend said, C. would eat a dictionary for lunch and fart perfect chapters in the afternoon. A bit of a crude simile, but thoroughly appropriate.
In addition, C. has been kind enough to walk with me through each of my books, and never have I received more valuable feedback. I'm truly glad I'm a bit better at punctuation and finding nits like omitted speech marks and stuff, else I wouldn't know how to ever repay C.'s efforts and generosity.
And in case you've noticed, yes, I'm deliberately dodging
using the personal pronoun.
C. wants to remain a mystery, so I thought
I'd better stick to C. to ease my life,
and spare you having to read your way through
a lot of he/she, his/her, etc.
I asked C. for an author pic.
What I got was the verbal equivalent of this: 

Now let's just ask a few questions, and see how much we can prise out.

Who are you?

My name is C. McDonald.

Where are you?

I live in leafy Surrey, a county in South-East England.

Where I will go in summer, and we will find out what happens when an English and an Austrian walk into a pub.

How are you?

I'm good, thank you - all the better for seeing the sun today after days of pouring rain.

Which book do you want to talk about?

I'd like to talk about my epic trilogy titled - Noor: The Place of Perfect Light, and more specifically the first book - Atrament Speaks. What's it about? That's a bit tricky as three stories are told alongside of one another, which gradually merge together towards the end of the book. I suppose, in the shortest of terms, it's a story about loss. The struggle to retrieve/reinstate something precious that has either been taken, or stolen, together with the choices made to do it. Love and loyalty also feature throughout.

This goes well with a quote from the book - “No story runs alone. Always, it travels in the company of others."
Why did you write it?

It began as an idea, as all stories do, but initially ran along the lines of a story for children. After a chance discussion with friends about natural abilities we all have, I thought about how much those qualities were either ignored, or undeveloped through lack of resources, and what a waste it was. Later, I wondered if that would be the situation if talent could be seen? The question was how to display it? Little lights travelling beneath the skin seemed an obvious choice. The next evolution was, if it was common to all would it be treasured, or squandered? As I realised the concept could be expanded, together with building a world full of colour so strong and vibrant it would hurt our human eyes, all thought of a book for children was abandoned, and I began to write Atrament Speaks in 2008, which I later self-published in 2010. The edition which will soon be published and available for purchase on Amazon's website, is a revision - the story hasn't changed but the language is now a mixture of 18th Century English and that in modern usage, which I think makes for a smoother read.

Tell us about your main character. What qualities/flaws/principles does he/she have?

Another tricky question! I don't have a main character, since I think they all have strength in their own right, and obviously the flaws we can all relate to.

Take Atrament for instance. Hating the human part of himself, this hatred is, in the first instant, transferred to the humans who inhabit my alternative world of Lessadgh, and later in Noor, is directed against The Guardians, rulers in all but name of the world created by the Disobedient Ones, and who instigated his fall at the height of his power.
Clara Maddingley, a woman who has her foster-son taken from her, is racked with grief. Prepared to do anything to get him back, she in turn is taken by force into Noor, and learning who was responsible for her son's ultimate madness, vengeance becomes her aim at the end of the book. That's just two characters. I could go on, but then there'd be no need to read the book to find out how all this knits together and what the outcome is...hah-ha.

Is there a song you'd associate with your book?

No, I don't think I even thought of that whilst writing it.

If I'm allowed a suggestion, I'd say something like  Clannad, I will find you

Which actors would you cast for the movie?

I can't say I've given that any thought. I think it would make a stunning film, directed by Peter Jackson, but I would say that...wouldn't I?

If you could make up your own genre for this book, what would it be?

Atrament Speaks is catalogued as 'fantasy', but to be honest that irritates me. Unless you write something totally factual, all fiction is fantasy, though I understand why genres are useful for readers.

Is there a message in your book?

Perhaps there is. Perhaps there isn't. I think sometimes things really resonate with a reader of any book, and they'll take what they want from it.

What are you currently working on?

The second book of the trilogy - The Sphalerite of Almandine - is complete. Currently, I'm working on three projects - the third book of the trilogy - Footprint of a False God - a book that would inevitably be logged under 'crime', with a working title of - Skin and Bone - and a book for young adults titled - Mustard Seed.

Which target audience do you write for?

All of the above, including one not mentioned, children aged between 8 to 12-year-olds. I wouldn't want to write for just one audience. I think that's limiting, and I'm all for expanding, or testing, any ability.

Why are you a writer?

I've always written. Fairy-tales when I was a child, lovesick poetry when I was a teenager, and though there was a hiatus when life got in the way for a few years, the story-telling bug resumed once my children were old enough to want something original rather than being read to from a book. If I don't write, I feel there's something wrong with me and find it quite depressing. When I write, I'm all of my characters and can act out so many things, even the darkest ones I wouldn't dream of doing in real life, as well as visiting places I'd never be able to, except in my imagination.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I really don't know. My head's bulging with ideas, but where they come from is a question I can't really answer. I'm fascinated by 'otherness', so maybe that has a lot to do with it.

Plot or characters? Which is more important?

Both. A plot may drive the characters, but in turn, they drive the plot, so a bit of a chicken and egg answer.

Do parts of you shine through?
Since we're all many faceted, I'd be surprised if it didn't. In any book there's surely some part of its author.

How does a typical day look like?

After carrying out necessary mundane things, into the worlds, scenarios I create - is that weird?

Nope, sounds familiar.

Who is your favourite author?

Cormac McCarthy.

Is there an author you'd love to be compared with?

No. I think readers make their own comparisons, or not.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I've had the most fantastic support from a number of people, who have been incredibly generous with their time, advice, and assistance. That said, my son would have to take prime position. He's quite a critical reader, and points out where I've slipped up with plot lines, or what a character would or wouldn't do, and whether something works or not. In fact he's quite brutal at times.

And I know where he gets it from :-)

What's your favourite book of all time? Why?

Without doubt Dune. The world building is marvellous, the culture of its various peoples, and families is vivid, the scenarios stunning, and the imagination poured onto the pages by the author is incredible. Add to that, it was written so long ago, and is still relevant and fresh - I think it's a masterpiece.

If you had a super power, which one would you choose?

Total recall. There'd be a lot of disadvantages, but I think the advantages would be huge.

What are you addicted to, or can't live without?

I'm claiming the right to remain silent on the basis I might incriminate myself.

What's the most stupid question you've ever been asked?

Why don't you vote?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Meet Sharon Stevenson!

Okay, let's meet Sharon today. Yes, I've met her before, briefly, and virtually. She was kind enough to say a few very nice things about my writing, so I jumped at the chance to give her some exposure in return.

This is her.
I love the hat.

Now, Sharon, tell us...

Who are you?

Sharon Stevenson; Supernatural Story Spinner & Devourer of Books

Where are you?

A town in Scotland which shall remain nameless simply because I like to be mysterious!

Thought so. The hat kind of gave you away :-) How are you?

Super busy, so I‘m a bit on the tired side but in a good mood since I like having lots to do.

Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.

Blood Bound is the first book in a new adult modern
fantasy series about 19-year-old twin demon hunters
Shaun and Sarah Gallows as they get used to tracking
down supernatural threats. It’s an action-packed series
but it’s also character-driven.

Here's what the book looks like:

Why did you write it?

I did the ‘write the book you want to read‘ thing. I love urban fantasy and wanted to create something that fans of this genre would also like. I wanted it to be entertaining, full of supernatural creatures and realistic characters, and with a good sense of humour.

Is there a song you'd associate with your book?

I listened to Twin Atlantic CD’s non-stop when I was writing these books so every time I hear one of their songs it reminds me of a character or a scene. For anyone who doesn’t know them they‘re a Scottish band and they totally rock!

Now I totally had to go and listen...oh, I like the sound!
Plot or characters? Which is more important and why?

Characters come first for me. I don’t think about plots until I know what kind of main character I want to write about. Plot is important though and I do obviously plot out my stories but I think it’s better when what happens comes about because of choices the characters have made, so I have to have my characters as fleshed out as possible inside my own head before I start working on the plot.

I think I just fell in love with you. Note to self: Read that book as soon as possible. 
Last question: What are you addicted to or can't live without?

I am fueled by Pepsi Max.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Meet Max China!

Max is one of those precious people who'll attack you with sudden bouts of helpfulness, and if you ask them whether there's any way you can repay them, tell you that a virtual hug will do.
I probably owe Max quite a few of those.
But that's not the reason I'm banging his drums here. The reason is, pure and simple, that he's written a great book, and I thought you should know.

This is him. (and, psst, don't tell anyone that when my husband saw that picture,
his first and only reaction
was to mumble 'Vatican mafioso')

Now, let's talk about Max.

Who are you?

My name is Max China, it's a pen name. If I sell loads of books, I'll reveal my true identity.

Ha! Now I'm curious! Let's narrow the suspect group down a bit...Where are you?

I'm in my study, at my house in a quiet Essex backwater, not far from London.

And how are you?

I'm very well, thank you.

Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.

My first novel is called The Sister. In a nutshell, it is about a man having the chance to make sense of his life in his dying moments and the story of what he sees as his last breath escapes. It is based on the concept that you see your whole life flash by in those last moments.

Why did you write it?

I've always wanted to write a novel and I guess it had been building in me. It went through several incarnations before becoming what is is today. I had some things I wanted to say about choices and what can happen if under pressure the wrong ones are made, how easy it is to do that and the possible consequences of getting it wrong.

Tell us about your main character. What does he/she look like, love, hate, dream of? What qualities/flaws/principles does he/she have?

The book is written in an unconventional way so that a variety of people are introduced fairly quickly, cameo fashion. The early lives of Bruce and Vera are explored, the effects on Bruce from witnessing a killer disposing of a body when he was seven years old, and of course, the effect it had on Vera viewing the same thing remotely from two hundred miles away. She is older and born with a wisdom that belies her years and other properties which enable her to cope so much better than he does. Bruce develops mechanisms that shield him from the fear, but blind him to the truth . . . I think I have to just clarify at this point that there are several main characters which come and go throughout the book. You never know when they will appear next.

Is there a song you'd associate with your book?

There is a scene in the book when Bruce is reminiscing on a lost love which I imagined would have gone down well accompanied by Rivulets' I Told Jesus Christ How Much I Loved Her. I didn't hear the song until after I'd written the scene, but it summed up the loneliness Bruce felt so well . . . it choked me up a bit.

I promptly went and listened to the song, and I fully agree with your choice. The slightly psychedelic sound would make a very fitting soundtrack. Speaking of soundtracks, which actors would you cast for the movie?

I could see Sean Bean in the role of Bruce when he reaches his forties, Kevin Spacey as Kennedy, Michael Caine as Doctor Ryan, Julianne Moore as the ageless Sister, but don't ask me about the serial killer. I'd have to think about that one . . .

If you could make up your own genre for this book, what would it be?

Not an easy question, that. It is a genre crossing, multi layered book with hidden depths and many themes.

Is there a message in your book? Do you want your readers to take something home?

There are many messages in the book, koans deliberately seeded throughout. Find one and you'll find others. On a more straightforward level, as I said earlier, it is about choices and living with the consequences, good or bad. I refer to the poem by Robert Frost on a number of occasions, it's included at the back of the book in its entirety, taken from 'Mountain Interval' it is called 'The Road Less Travelled' – it wasn't the inspiration for the book, but it is used as inspiration by one of the characters, who then passes that inspiration on. In a way I'm doing that too. It is a fine poem.

What are you currently working on?

The Life and Times of William Boule: Serial Killer, it's a spin-off featuring some of the characters from The Sister. I also have some other projects on the back burner.

Which target audience do you write for? What do you think makes your book especially appealing for that audience?

I didn't write for a target audience, but I would imagine if someone is into thrillers, there's something for them, same with crime suspense and mystery. A bit of a jamboree bag really, something for the mystics in there too. And even a little romance. Horror? Did I mention horror?

Why are you a writer? Were you born to be one, did it just happen, was there some moment of epiphany...?

I wrote my first short story when I was in primary school, I still remember how it felt to have the teacher choose to read it out in front of the class. Perhaps a seed was sown back then. I also remember telling a friend when I was seventeen years old that I'd write a book one day . . . it took me a while to get around to it.

Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

Stray thoughts, usually. They pop into my heard and my brain turns them around. If I can see a story there, I have the first pieces of a puzzle to work with. Once I start, I'll wake at three in the morning with fresh ideas or solutions to things that weren't working. I think it helps that I remember my dreams as I'll sometimes dream a sequence that fits.

Plot or characters? Which is more important and why?

Interesting question. You have to have a plot to have a story and without strong characters to carry the plot what are you left with? I'd say equally important.

Do parts of you shine through? Are some characters like you, or friends, or family?

My secretary often jokes that Miller is me, and given where he comes from it's inevitable that we share some traits. Given the nature of some of the things I write about, much of it comes from the news, mostly long past and converted by my imagination into something else. Friends and family? I'd hate for them to recognise any part of themselves and think it was based on them, so the answer to that is no. Aquaintences? That's a different story.

How does a typical day for you look like? What do you do when you're not writing?

I work full time and these last few years have filled most of my spare time up with writing. I like to keep fit so I do kettlebell training three times a week. I like to cycle, walk,  read, listen to music, family things. I said elsewhere that I love to dream, and I do. If you can remember your dreams, then that time asleep doesn't seem such a waste.

Who is your favorite author?

That's a tough one, I've had favourite authors throughout different phases of my life, my early favourites were Harold Robbins, Stephen King, Trevanian.

Is there an author you'd love to be compared to?

I wouldn't compare myself to another, but some have said they see shades of Dean Koontz and echoes of King in my work.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I have many supporters that I've never met and I feel blessed to have had that support, but in the flesh, it has to be my secretary, Anya.

What's your favorite book of all time and why?

A Stone for Danny Fisher, probably because it was the first adult book I read. It just gelled with me.

If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

The ability to travel through time.

What are you addicted to or can't live without?

The thing I miss the most when I go on holiday is my computer, there I said it, shock, horror.

What's the most stupid question you've ever been asked?

Can't think of any that stand out, but when I've filled in a form and I sign it, it says position. I always think that's a stupid question.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meet Mark Cain!

I stumbled upon Mark in a forum thread on authonomy, where he kindly told everyone that he was having an Amazon free day for his book. I thought, hmm, a book titled Hell's Super, should be fun, and a guy named Mark Cain, hmm, that's either a pseudonym or proof that his parents had an interesting sense of humor...however, 
I got myself a copy, and boy, was I glad that I did that.
Which is why I don't have the slightest qualms
about banging a few drums for him.

That's him, by the way. Cheers, Mark!

And now, for something completely different...

Who are you?

Hi, I’m Mark Cain. I’m a writer and musician. Of course, everyone where I live is a musician. We must have a million guitarists here. I also do occasional management consulting for institutions of higher education.

Where are you?

Here would be Austin, Texas.

How are you?

I’m good, thanks. My wife and I have a nice house on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. We live close to nature, but also close enough to town to arts and theater.

Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.

Hell’s Super is my third novel. It could be described as a comic fantasy, though many readers call it a satire. Hell’s Super is about a very different version of Hell than the one we first thing of, you know, with all the fire and brimstone and sharp and pointy pitchforks. My Hell takes the everyday aggravations of life and magnifies them to ridiculous proportions. Think of a bad day at the office and magnify that by about one hundred, throw in some devils with really juvenile senses of humor, and you have a rough approximation of this particular version of the Inferno.
The plot of the book revolves around Steve and his assistant, Orson Welles (yes, that Orson Welles) trying to fix Hell’s Escalator, which runs from the Pearly and Infernal Gates down to the bowls of the Underworld. Along the way, they meet famous historical figures, a bunch of devils and demons, and one particularly large and lovable vampire bat. The whole story is pretty ridiculous, but a good time is had by all.

Why did you write it?

Oh, that’s kind of a fun story. My wife and I were walking along a beach in Florida, and I was thinking about an epic fantasy series that I’d just begun to write. All of a sudden, it hit me: I didn’t want to write epic. I wanted to write funny, to make people laugh. Since writing ideas tend to come to me fairly easily, it was only a matter of minutes before I had the basic idea for the story.

Tell us about your main character. What does he/she look like, love, hate, dream of? What qualities/flaws/principles does he/she have?

Steve is one of the damned. In life, he had been a tenured professor of economics. The one thing he hated more than anything was a home project. He was clumsy with tools, botched almost every house repair he attempted. So naturally when he was placed in Hell, he was assigned the job of Mr. Fix. Steve is the SUPERintendent of Plant Maintenance in Hell, which is the pun implicit in the title of the book.
Steve looks middle-aged, has male pattern baldness, and a nose bigger than Cyrano de Bergerac’s. He loves a woman down in Hell, but I can’t say more than that without creating a plot spoiler. He was damned for committing the sin of Pride. Steve is basically a really nice guy, though he can be a little cruel to people he doesn’t like. He doesn’t have many dreams for the future; being damned tends to put a damper on that. He is pretty brave and extremely sarcastic. Steve has a strong sense of fair play and exhibits a great deal of integrity.

Is there a song you'd associate with your book?

The Gershwin brothers’ I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise. That song plays a role in the plot. 

Sorry to interrupt. Just wanted to mention that I absolutely loved that scene. Those poor guys. It must have been hell...well, it was. Next question.
Which actors would you cast for the movie?

John Cusack would be a good Steve. Orson would be tough: maybe Paul Giamatti. Steve’s love interest: Marion Cotillard, but she’d have to learn to speak with a British accent.

If you could make up your own genre for this book, what would it be?

Satiric fantasy, I guess.

Is there a message in your book? Do you want your readers to take something home?

Yes. First off, you have to remember that this is Hell, where there is little chance for self-improvement or good things happening. Yet the damned fight against their fates, and it plays out again and again in the story. In short, Hell’s Super is about the indomitability of the human spirit and the nature of hope.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on the sequel, A Cold Day in Hell, about the breakdown of Hell’s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system.

Which target audience do you write for? What do you think makes your book especially appealing for that audience?

I’m looking to attract fans of Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt, and Christopher Moore, all of whom write comic fantasy and all of whom explore our world through wry but critical lenses.

Why are you a writer? Were you born to be one, did it just happen, was there some moment of epiphany...?

I’ve been writing since I was eleven, though I didn’t get serious, that is, write my first complete novel, until I was in my late twenties. I like to write, but I’m not compelled to do it. That takes a little pressure off me, I think.

Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

If you’ve ever heard of the Myer’s-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, you’ll know that it categories people by certain personality traits. One of them is where you get your information, from the external world or from the internal world or some combination. I am extremely intuitive, living frequently in my head, on my own internal landscape. Most of my ideas come from inside.

Plot or characters? Which is more important and why?

They’re equally important. I think of plot as like a musical phrase, and the characters as notes within that phrase. You can’t make music without both of them.

Do parts of you shine through? Are some characters like you, or friends, or family?

I confess that bits of my own personality frequently show up in my protagonists. As for my other characters, in Hell’s Super at least they are inspired by famous historical figures.

How does a typical day for you look like? What do you do when you're not writing?

I’m a runner, do some weights too. I’m a serious musician, playing in three musical groups, a British-style brass band, a brass quintet and a traditional jazz band. I play tuba. I go to plays and concerts a fair bit.
When in writing mode, I sit at my desk until I write at least 1000 words, Monday through Friday. In this way, I draft a novel in about four months.

Who is your favorite author?

Kurt Vonnegut, jr.

Is there an author you'd love to be compared to?

Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore or Tom Holt. I’d be proud to be compared with any of them.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My wife, Linda, though I have a number of writer colleagues who have been wonderfully supportive of me over the years.

What's your favorite book of all time and why?

Like so many people who write fantasy, I’d have to say The Lord of The Rings. I read it when I was fourteen, and LOTR opened my imagination to full throttle.

If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

I want them all! But if I had to choose, it would be flight. That’s freedom, unlimited possibilities. Flight is a common choice, isn’t it?

What are you addicted to or can't live without?

Coffee, but also peace and quiet. I like the calm of my home, even though I’m a fairly gregarious person.

Coffee! A man after my own heart!
Last question: What's the most stupid question you've ever been asked?

I’ve never been asked a stupid question. The worst I’ve gotten have been ignorant ones. Most people, when they ask a question, feel a genuine need for information. My attitude comes out of years of working in a service industry. I’ve always had a strong desire to help people.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Meet Chris Bostic!

They call him Mr. Boom-Bostic, very fantastic...honestly. Our Mr. Bostic is a great guy, just don't tell him I said that. Another one of the wonderful people I met on authonomy, he first stumbled into my field of vision by very humbly reviewing Ratpaths, then attempting to duck out of sight lest I return the favor. 
Which I did, of course, to find that he wrote books with the power to take you back to your old Girl Scout days.
We've been exchanging insults and praise ever since.

And no, that's not Indiana Jones, that's Chris.

Now, let's see what he has to say for himself.

Who are you? 
Someone that struggles with meeting new people, especially when it comes to self-promotion. I’d rather celebrate the accomplishments of others. So I’m pleased to note that you have another fabulous new book coming out. I’ll be eagerly watching for page for details on The Girl on the Red Pillow.

This is the moment where we all realize that this interview is a couple weeks old already, isn't it? I shouldn't have dawdled...blame Christmas...anyway, this isn't about me, this is about you. So, what else?
More specifically about me, I’m a father of three who sometimes wishes he could relive certain parts of his childhood. That’s why I write for young adults. There are so many things I would do differently. Or maybe not. It’s fun to pretend.

Where are you?
The suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. Been in the midwestern United States my entire life, from the biggest cities to small towns.

Missouri, uh. I bet that's pretty cold right now. Which brings us to the next question. How are you? Motivated, but frustrated at times. It’s daunting to see there’s something like 9 million different book titles available on Amazon, so I really appreciate the ability to share some words with you and your audience.

Speaking of audiences, which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.
I would love to tell you all about my first ever novel – Fugitives from Northwoods. Some would say it’s a story for boys seeing how it’s all actiony, wilderness survivalist, and basically Young Adult. But I’ve actually had a lot of excellent feedback from women, especially the parents of the kids that are supposed to be reading the book. But nothing could be more gratifying than having a boy on your son’s baseball team telling you that he read it as fast as he could and loved every page.
The book is set in a not-too-distant future America. The economy has collapsed, cities have crumbled, and kids are sent to work camps to provide for the common good. Tired of their mistreatment, a group of boys and the girls in neighboring bunkhouses break out and brave the wilds of northern Minnesota on a frantic, risky run for the border.

Why did you write it? 
Because I was bored. I hadn’t written anything since my school days a long time ago – at least nothing other than the occasional boring report for work. I used to read at lunchtime every day for a little break, and after I finished Catching Fire for the third time, I really couldn’t bring myself to read Mockingjay again. Nothing else sounded interesting at the time, so I figured why not try to write something.

If you could make up your own genre for this book, what would it be?
Libertarian fiction. I suppose that might actually be a real genre, but not a very common one. Lots of great dystopian books have strong libertarian leanings. Basically, it’s the idea that not many people really want to be told what to do - especially not forced to do something. I think teens can really relate to that.

Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
Vacations. Every time I’m lucky enough to have a little time off work and travel away from home, it seems like inspiration strikes. There’s something about new places that brings adventure stories to mind. Thankfully, I’ve never had any epically bad experiences like my characters always seem to be running into.

Do parts of you shine through? Are some characters like you, or friends, or family?
I find the best way to get into a head of a character and bring them to life is to model them on someone you know. So, yes, there are definitely characters that are at least loosely based on people I have met. Some aren’t necessarily complimentary, so I better not share any names.
I don’t necessarily write about myself, but sometimes my characters are more like the person I would like to be, or the person I would like to have been at that age.