So you guys know how it goes. One author writes a blog post asking a few of his friends to join in,
and then you get yourself an infinite progression of blog posts to read from some of the coolest authors around. Well, I’m not certain I fall into that ‘cool author’ category or not, but I’m certainly thankful that one amazingly cool author thought of me when it came time for the Tour. I’m talking about Kerry Nietz, the author of the very awesome sci-fi blood-sucking thriller AMISH VAMPIRES IN SPACE (which I’ve featured on this very blog before). If you read his contribution to the Blog Tour (click here
), you discover he’s hard at work on the sequel, and I, for one, can’t wait! So, thanks, Kerry, for including me in this. It’s truly an honor.
Okay. So you know how it goes. Now I’m supposed to answer a few questions so that, the reader, can get to know me a little better. So without further ado, here we go:
1) What am I working on?
That’s an easy one. The same thing I’ve been working on for the last six or seven months or so…Book One of The Legend of the Winterking
, called THE CROWN OF NANDUR. This is a story (it’ll be a trilogy and my first full blown fantasy adventure) that has been on my mind now for about eight years. It began with an interesting premise: What adventures might Kringle have had before becoming the man we know today as Father Christmas, Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle? Surely, the mythological figure didn’t just appear one day, giving presents to the good boys and girls of the world? Heck, what if he didn’t even LIKE kids when he was younger?
So, how did it all come about? That’s exactly what the Legend of the Winterking hopes to reveal! But if you’re thinking that this is some little kid’s story…or that it’s all about Christmas-ey stuff, think again. Like all of my books, it’s one that readers of all ages will be able to enjoy, but it will be dark in some places. Very dark. It will also have very little to do with Christmas at all. After all, we all live lives 364 other days than Christmas, right? Well, so does the series hero, Krin!
The trilogy will start out with him just being a normal young man (of about 17 years of age). He’s a prankster. A slacker (well, as much a slacker as one can be in the 4th century Roman province of Lycia). And he argues with his adoptive father, Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, over having to do chores. He’s just a regular guy, who has been lied to about his origins, his heritage, and his parents. As the adventure begins, he’ll begin searching for the truth behind these lies…and won’t like the answers he discovers.
The Legend of the Winterking meshes real world history of 4th century Rome and Germanic barbarians (not to mention the Magi, who visited Christ as an infant) with classic fantasy elements such as elves, dwarves, goblins, trolls, dragons, and a few interesting surprises.
Like I said, I can’t wait to share this book with you guys! I’m about 90% finished. It’s due to go to the editor by the end of the month, and I hope to have it released by the first week of November! (FYI, there will also be a special edition hardcover that will include about eight full colored illustrations (See the above two beautiful illustrations by Jason Piraino and Gil Murillo for examples), as well as a full colored world map!).
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not entirely sure I like this particular question from the simple standpoint that I never like comparing my stuff to other authors. If I do, I might curl up into a ball, and cry from all my insecurities. In addition, it’s kind of difficult to pinpoint exactly what my ‘genre’ is. I’m not a hundred percent adventure novelist. I don’t write mysteries all the time either. And The Legend of the Winterking is my first ‘fantasy’ novel, in my opinion, but according to several reviews, my book The Djinn is considered ‘fantasy’ by many. So, how exactly do I answer this?
Well, I think I just did. When I used to run Seven Realms Publishing, I would tell authors who contacted me about possibly publishing their book that if they told me their book was “a little difficult to pigeon hole into one genre”, I would probably reject it. After all, a publisher needs to know what genre a book they’re publishing is in order to better understand the marketing strategy that would be needed, not to mention the viability of the book itself. Publishers quite simply do not like being vague when it comes to genre. That’s why, after all, genre exists to begin with…so bookstores will know precisely where to display it on their shelves.
So, I guess, I’ve broken my own cardinal rule on almost every single book (series) I’ve written. The ENIGMA Directive series is about a cryptozoologist’s adventures around the world as he searches for monsters. Lots of action. Lots of Indiana Jones adventure. BUT (notice the all caps in that ‘but’?)…most of the series (especially Devil’s Child) contain pretty nifty little mysteries. My Dark Hollows Mystery series is about a cursed coroner from Kentucky investigating not only the deaths of a number of town folk, but also their mysterious return to life. It’s a mystery, but there are distinct vestiges of an adventure novel to it as well.
In the end, I usually just tell people I write “Paranormal Mystery Adventures”. I think this is what pretty much defines my “brand”, if I had to pick.
Oh, but the one big thing I think that makes my stuff differ than most is that every single one of my books and short stories are “family friendly.” There will never be cussing in my books (unless I co-author with someone else…then, any cuss words you can guarantee will be the contribution of the other author). You will never find explicit (or really even implied) sex scenes in my books. You can be sure that any book I write, you can give to your tween and/or teen, as well as your elderly grandmother, and never have to feel embarrassed by anything really R-rated (unless maybe violence…but even my violence is often toned down or cartoon-like…though as you might see with The Dark Hollows series, I definitely don’t tone down the “creepy” factor).
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write what I want to read. Plain and simple. It’s something I’ve always told myself when I decided I wanted to try to start writing professionally. As a matter of fact, it’s the very origin of my first book, PRIMAL THIRST. I wanted to find a great adventure novel about a cryptozoologist who hunts monsters for a living. At the time, I couldn’t find one (I’ve since discovered a few great ones, but not at the time I decided to write my own), so I wrote what I wanted to read most. I’ve pretty much been doing it ever since.
Upon reflection of this, I’ve also discovered that I must REALLY like elements of the paranormal in my stories because I’ve honestly tried writing straight up mysteries before. The Curse of One-Eyed Jack was originally supposed to be a whodunnit murder mystery. If you’ve read it, you know it turned out to be anything but that. Lots and lots of paranormal (Appalachian fae folk, witches, monsters, etc) leaked into the manuscript as I wrote, and I’ve never regretted it once.
But in essence, you can guarantee that if I’ve written it, I’ve done so simply for no other reason than it was something I wanted to read. Which is WONDERFUL if you think about it. No matter how well any book I write does (or how badly it bombs), the only person I have to truly please is myself.
4) How does my writing process work?
Honestly, this varies depending on the book and/or genre. With my more adventurous novels (like The ENIGMA Directive series), it’s more a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ kind of thing. I come up with a concept. Decide on the monster/McGuffin. Start writing, and see where it goes.
With my Dark Hollows series, I come up with the mystery first. Know the answer to the mystery, then work the story around it. I have a much better idea of beginning, middle, and end when I start out writing books in that series than I do with The ENIGMA Directive series. (Usually lots of research in Appalachian folk tales helps a great deal in developing the mystery too).
But with my Legend of the Winterking trilogy, it is different by far than anything else I’ve ever written. Nearly eight years has gone into world building, story and character development, and outlining. When I started out writing the book, I already had a 49-page detailed, chapter by chapter outline of the book I wanted to tell. Okay, granted, around Chapter 12, I threw the outline out the window and the book I have now is almost completely different than when I first started (and much, much better, I believe!), but the point is, with this epic fantasy, I spent a great deal more time developing it before I even started pecking away at the keyboard.
So, as you can see, my writing process is as varied as my genre, I suppose.
Okay, so now, I’m going to invite a few of my friends to participate in the Blog Hop Tour! They’ll be posting answers to the above questions on their own blogs next Monday, so I encourage you to check them out. Oh, and be sure to check out last week’s blog post by Kerry Nietz
So I’ve invited the super prolific, and awesome adventure author David Wood. David is the author of the hugely successful Dane Maddock series of treasure hunting adventures. If you like Indiana Jones or Clive Cussler, you’ll definitely want to check him out. Here’s a link to his blog: http://davidwoodweb.com
Next, I’ve invited the wonderfully talented Rick Chesler, marine adventurer extraordinaire, and author of the immensely entertaining Tara Shore Thrillers (which includes: Wired Kingdom, KiDNApped, and Solar Island). Check out his blog here: http://rickchesler.com/
And finally, R.P. Steeves, the always humorous, and entertaining author of the fantastic urban fantasy series of that supernatural P.I., Misty Johnson (Misty Johnson, Supernatural Dick in Capitol Hell, and The National Maul (A Misty Johnson Mystery)). You can check out his blog next week here: http://www.rpsteeves.com/
Okay, so I was asked to invite ‘2 or 3’ friends. I’m a maverick. So I’m inviting more. Xander Weaver, for instance. He just released his very first novel…a paranormal thriller called Dangerous Minds: A Cyrus Cooper Thriller…and it’s a doozy! You’ll definitely want to check it out. But you’ll also want to check out his blog next week to see how he answers these questions! http://www.xanderweaver.com/
Thanks everyone! And remember to check out these great authors’ blogs next week!