An Interview with Jeff Wilcox // Author of THE COMPANIONS OF TARTIËL.
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born and grew up in the suburbs of Lancaster, PA, right in the middle of Amish country.  I remember all manner of fresh fruit and vegetables my mother would bring from Central Market and juicy, sweet corn sold on the roadside by young girls, hair bound in black prayer caps.  The world hasn’t motivated me to relocate very far, and now I live just outside Harrisburg, PA, still in the suburbs, still in Amish country.  Swimming water?  No.  Swimming in the Susquehanna is reserved for those wanting a quick death among the rocks or a slow death from all the chemicals.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
Chocolate chip cookies (the kind made using the recipe on the back of Toll House chocolate chips bags) baking in the oven.  Partly for the memories of my childhood; partly for knowledge that I’ll be eating them soon!
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
After spending a year abroad in Switzerland, I attended class at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA.  There, I earned a BA in English with a concentration in Writing.  I mistakenly thought that I was trading OUT several literature courses and trading IN some writing classes.  When I discovered that the writing classes were tacked on in addition to all the standard courses, I ended up having to drop both of my minors.  It would have been possible to keep them if I had stayed on an extra semester, but it was time for me to go.  Today, I work at a small web development company as a quality assurance agent.  In some ways, it lets me scratch my writing itch, since much of my job involves documentation; however, technical writing is a far cry from creative writing.  I still write as a hobby, but I take it seriously, hoping to someday be able to write creatively full-time.  That, of course, depends on the quality of my writing and my dedication to promoting it.  Writing aside, I’m a huge geek, and my other hobbies run the geeky gamut: tabletop/role-playing games, video games, anime (Japanese cartoons), and circuit-board soldering help fill in the hours and let me ignore and eventually overcome the occasional bout of writer’s block.
4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
I am currently involved in a serious, long-term relationship with a fiery young woman named Lyndsey, whose penchant for orneriness rivals mine.  This is actually a good thing, because we enjoy our games of clever wordplay—and the occasional prank—which I invariably win due to my inexhaustible wit and charm.  This statement alone will undoubtedly ignite a dispute.  Just a moment; I need to go put out a few fires.And I’m back.  As for how we met, she and I sat with our backs facing each other at work (she has since moved on to greener career pastures).  I didn’t realize it at the time, but she admits to having had her eye on me for quite a while, and so our first few encounters involved one very interested woman and one entirely clueless hero.  My awareness has improved significantly since then.  I have to make the cliche claim that there’s no one thing about her that’s my favorite, because there are too many to choose from.  But for right now, I’ll say that it’s her outgoing attitude and tenacity that draw me to her most.  No children yet, but we do have two young boys: Lewis and Clark.  They’re kittens we rescued from almost-certain doom several months ago.  Now they’ve grown into enormous hunting beasts that keep us safe from all manner of bell-filled balls, string, and cardboard boxes.5)  Is ignorance bliss?
No.  Ignorance is what happens when a person decides they’ve grown enough and they have lost their desire to continue improving themselves.  For some, this sets in young, while some others never fall into the habit.  Without curiosity and an open mind, how are we to seek answers to our questions, solutions to our problems, meet new friends, forge relationships, write the next epic tale, or make the world a better place?  No, ignorance is better left to those who believe the world is static.  In fact, in my opinion, ignorance is better left entirely alone.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
My first explorations into the myriad possibilities hidden within a blank page started soon after I opened my eyes to fiction.  For several years in my childhood, I had no interest in reading books that “had nothing to do with the real world.”  I restricted my reading diet to non-fiction materials, mainly encyclopedias (especially the kind with color pictures).  I even had an illustrated children’s dictionary I would spend hours reading.  I’m glad I made the switch.  Eventually, I picked up my first science fiction or fantasy novel when I was nine or ten, and I was hooked.  I think it was the Animorphs series by K. A. Applegate.  From there, I journeyed through the anthropomorph-filled world of Brian Jacques and eventually to the authors I read today.  At some point between Applegate and Jacques, I decided I wanted to try writing my own stories.  I still have them.  I probably regret keeping them.  I have a friend who probably regrets it more than I do.  Regardless, I had given the mouse a cookie, and things escalated from there.7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
I’ll begin by noting that I’ve graduated from writing paragraphs and sometimes entire pages of onomatopoeia; but really, that happened long before I ever started any serious projects.  My earliest writing was marked by a typically juvenile focus on plot.  I often featured myself as the hero.  My friends at the time were turned into supporting characters, and the kids I didn’t like at school were the villains.  If nothing else, it was cathartic for my eleven-year-old self.  Eventually, I made the decision to move away from childish stories where I was merely thinking wishfully and exacting revenge upon the miscreants whose transgressions were transient at their worst.  This shifting of gears forced me to consider the characters, since I had stopped pulling people from real-life into my stories unchanged.  Over time, I came to realize that characters are infinitely more interesting than the events going on around them, and that the plot is just the table on which each character stands, and every event turns the table slightly so that we get to see a few new facets of each character.As far as the physical act of writing is concerned, my methods have changed little over the years.  I moved from pencil and paper to the computer, a change that was extremely beneficial—I can type a lot faster than I can write, and as an added bonus, it’s legible.  It also taught me to touch-type; I was a hunt-and-peck kid for a while.  I can write most anywhere, but there are some days in particular when I want to be secluded in the quietude of my desk; and others when I need the bustle of a cafe to help jostle ideas from my head.8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
What I consider to be my greatest success will hopefully change in the future, but at the moment, “not giving up” stands out as my favorite right now.  Between finishing Rose Prophecy and starting The Companions of Tartiël, there was a period of a couple years when I wrote about 400,000 words that I ended up throwing out.  One of them was a full-length manuscript, some 150,000 words.  When I saw the countless problems with the work, I thought I had lost my mind.  How could I have missed so many glaring issues?  Who would ever want to read this sort of dross?  It was clear that the project would need more than just a serious editing effort to make it worth anyone’s time.  A few halting starts and stops on some other projects rounded out the latter 250,000 dumpster-destined words.  I even stopped writing for about a year, though during that time I did turn out a short story I’m still quite proud of.  My creative side, however, was not content to sit and idle, and eventually I had to sit down at the keyboard again to keep my head from exploding.  I’m convinced that could be quite messy.  So, yes, the act of not permanently putting down my figurative pen is what I consider to be my greatest success.
9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
Most certainly.  Everyone has their secrets and skeletons in the closet.  I consider myself lucky in that I’m able to be pretty open with the people I’m close with, so the number of such grotesque displays in my wardrobe is small, and most of them are just costumes and props, anyhow.
10)  What did you find out after finishing THE COMPANIONS OF TARTIËL? What weren’t you expecting?
The first thing I discovered after finishing The Companions of Tartiël was that I was already itching to start the next project.  It was a welcome change from before, when sitting down to write was like squeezing frozen molasses out of a tube through a straw.  In fact, I had written the beginnings and outlines for several other novels while working on The Companions.  It was pretty much the same day I put down the pen that I picked it back up again.One thing that really surprised me is that when I finished The Companions, I found out that the project I wanted to start next wasn’t the one I had been eagerly waiting to begin while I was writing about Tartiël.  There are several elements in The Companions that are shared between several of my other novels-to-be, and finishing The Companions made me realize that I hadn’t cooked off all the fat from those ideas and stories.  In truth, it happened in reverse.  Such elements originated in my other, currently unfinished works and ended up being polished in The Companions and, more specifically, while the story in the book was playing out in the real world.  Now I actually know how to fix the issues that were keeping me down several years ago.
Check out Jeff Wilcox’s website for more.

An Interview with Jeff Wilcox // Author of THE COMPANIONS OF TARTIËL.

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born and grew up in the suburbs of Lancaster, PA, right in the middle of Amish country.  I remember all manner of fresh fruit and vegetables my mother would bring from Central Market and juicy, sweet corn sold on the roadside by young girls, hair bound in black prayer caps.  The world hasn’t motivated me to relocate very far, and now I live just outside Harrisburg, PA, still in the suburbs, still in Amish country.  Swimming water?  No.  Swimming in the Susquehanna is reserved for those wanting a quick death among the rocks or a slow death from all the chemicals.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

Chocolate chip cookies (the kind made using the recipe on the back of Toll House chocolate chips bags) baking in the oven.  Partly for the memories of my childhood; partly for knowledge that I’ll be eating them soon!

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

After spending a year abroad in Switzerland, I attended class at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA.  There, I earned a BA in English with a concentration in Writing.  I mistakenly thought that I was trading OUT several literature courses and trading IN some writing classes.  When I discovered that the writing classes were tacked on in addition to all the standard courses, I ended up having to drop both of my minors.  It would have been possible to keep them if I had stayed on an extra semester, but it was time for me to go.  Today, I work at a small web development company as a quality assurance agent.  In some ways, it lets me scratch my writing itch, since much of my job involves documentation; however, technical writing is a far cry from creative writing.  I still write as a hobby, but I take it seriously, hoping to someday be able to write creatively full-time.  That, of course, depends on the quality of my writing and my dedication to promoting it.  Writing aside, I’m a huge geek, and my other hobbies run the geeky gamut: tabletop/role-playing games, video games, anime (Japanese cartoons), and circuit-board soldering help fill in the hours and let me ignore and eventually overcome the occasional bout of writer’s block.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

I am currently involved in a serious, long-term relationship with a fiery young woman named Lyndsey, whose penchant for orneriness rivals mine.  This is actually a good thing, because we enjoy our games of clever wordplay—and the occasional prank—which I invariably win due to my inexhaustible wit and charm.  This statement alone will undoubtedly ignite a dispute.  Just a moment; I need to go put out a few fires.

And I’m back.  As for how we met, she and I sat with our backs facing each other at work (she has since moved on to greener career pastures).  I didn’t realize it at the time, but she admits to having had her eye on me for quite a while, and so our first few encounters involved one very interested woman and one entirely clueless hero.  My awareness has improved significantly since then.  I have to make the cliche claim that there’s no one thing about her that’s my favorite, because there are too many to choose from.  But for right now, I’ll say that it’s her outgoing attitude and tenacity that draw me to her most.  No children yet, but we do have two young boys: Lewis and Clark.  They’re kittens we rescued from almost-certain doom several months ago.  Now they’ve grown into enormous hunting beasts that keep us safe from all manner of bell-filled balls, string, and cardboard boxes.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

No.  Ignorance is what happens when a person decides they’ve grown enough and they have lost their desire to continue improving themselves.  For some, this sets in young, while some others never fall into the habit.  Without curiosity and an open mind, how are we to seek answers to our questions, solutions to our problems, meet new friends, forge relationships, write the next epic tale, or make the world a better place?  No, ignorance is better left to those who believe the world is static.  In fact, in my opinion, ignorance is better left entirely alone.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

My first explorations into the myriad possibilities hidden within a blank page started soon after I opened my eyes to fiction.  For several years in my childhood, I had no interest in reading books that “had nothing to do with the real world.”  I restricted my reading diet to non-fiction materials, mainly encyclopedias (especially the kind with color pictures).  I even had an illustrated children’s dictionary I would spend hours reading.  I’m glad I made the switch.  Eventually, I picked up my first science fiction or fantasy novel when I was nine or ten, and I was hooked.  I think it was the Animorphs series by K. A. Applegate.  From there, I journeyed through the anthropomorph-filled world of Brian Jacques and eventually to the authors I read today.  At some point between Applegate and Jacques, I decided I wanted to try writing my own stories.  I still have them.  I probably regret keeping them.  I have a friend who probably regrets it more than I do.  Regardless, I had given the mouse a cookie, and things escalated from there.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

I’ll begin by noting that I’ve graduated from writing paragraphs and sometimes entire pages of onomatopoeia; but really, that happened long before I ever started any serious projects.  My earliest writing was marked by a typically juvenile focus on plot.  I often featured myself as the hero.  My friends at the time were turned into supporting characters, and the kids I didn’t like at school were the villains.  If nothing else, it was cathartic for my eleven-year-old self.  Eventually, I made the decision to move away from childish stories where I was merely thinking wishfully and exacting revenge upon the miscreants whose transgressions were transient at their worst.  This shifting of gears forced me to consider the characters, since I had stopped pulling people from real-life into my stories unchanged.  Over time, I came to realize that characters are infinitely more interesting than the events going on around them, and that the plot is just the table on which each character stands, and every event turns the table slightly so that we get to see a few new facets of each character.

As far as the physical act of writing is concerned, my methods have changed little over the years.  I moved from pencil and paper to the computer, a change that was extremely beneficial—I can type a lot faster than I can write, and as an added bonus, it’s legible.  It also taught me to touch-type; I was a hunt-and-peck kid for a while.  I can write most anywhere, but there are some days in particular when I want to be secluded in the quietude of my desk; and others when I need the bustle of a cafe to help jostle ideas from my head.

8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

What I consider to be my greatest success will hopefully change in the future, but at the moment, “not giving up” stands out as my favorite right now.  Between finishing Rose Prophecy and starting The Companions of Tartiël, there was a period of a couple years when I wrote about 400,000 words that I ended up throwing out.  One of them was a full-length manuscript, some 150,000 words.  When I saw the countless problems with the work, I thought I had lost my mind.  How could I have missed so many glaring issues?  Who would ever want to read this sort of dross?  It was clear that the project would need more than just a serious editing effort to make it worth anyone’s time.  A few halting starts and stops on some other projects rounded out the latter 250,000 dumpster-destined words.  I even stopped writing for about a year, though during that time I did turn out a short story I’m still quite proud of.  My creative side, however, was not content to sit and idle, and eventually I had to sit down at the keyboard again to keep my head from exploding.  I’m convinced that could be quite messy.  So, yes, the act of not permanently putting down my figurative pen is what I consider to be my greatest success.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

Most certainly.  Everyone has their secrets and skeletons in the closet.  I consider myself lucky in that I’m able to be pretty open with the people I’m close with, so the number of such grotesque displays in my wardrobe is small, and most of them are just costumes and props, anyhow.

10)  What did you find out after finishing THE COMPANIONS OF TARTIËL? What weren’t you expecting?

The first thing I discovered after finishing The Companions of Tartiël was that I was already itching to start the next project.  It was a welcome change from before, when sitting down to write was like squeezing frozen molasses out of a tube through a straw.  In fact, I had written the beginnings and outlines for several other novels while working on The Companions.  It was pretty much the same day I put down the pen that I picked it back up again.

One thing that really surprised me is that when I finished The Companions, I found out that the project I wanted to start next wasn’t the one I had been eagerly waiting to begin while I was writing about Tartiël.  There are several elements in The Companions that are shared between several of my other novels-to-be, and finishing The Companions made me realize that I hadn’t cooked off all the fat from those ideas and stories.  In truth, it happened in reverse.  Such elements originated in my other, currently unfinished works and ended up being polished in The Companions and, more specifically, while the story in the book was playing out in the real world.  Now I actually know how to fix the issues that were keeping me down several years ago.

Check out Jeff Wilcox’s website for more.

An Interview with J.G. Barnes // Author of MAXIMUM DICK THE SHARK SLAYER.
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
Las Vegas sounds awesome to say you were born there, right? I was, but for some reason my parents thought it would be better if I never had any warm memories of Vegas and instead moved as quickly as possible to Detroit soon after I was born — and no, there isn’t close to perfect swimming water here. It’s like having someone replace your pizza with dried cow shit and then telling you that you can’t even brush your teeth when you’re done eating it.I still love my parents.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
Freshly applied liquid lawn fertilizer.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
Formal education? I tried some college, but ultimately found that institutional education and I don’t mix. I can’t stand the environment and clinical structure of it all. Most of my education comes from persistence, a crap ton of trial-and-error, and a lot of internet research. I did very well in school, but never enjoyed it and always felt I could be doing something more productive. The day I graduated, I walked out before my family could snap a picture of me accepting my diploma.
I still love my parents.


Currently, I sell TVs to pay for the truck that basically gets me to the job where I sell TVs. When I’m lucky, I pick up the occasional design, video editing, or music job.
4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
My girlfriend is an opinionated firecracker just like my mom. I hate her and love her for it. The only things that make me not want to throw her down the stairs is that she’s a super tiny cutie and she has fabulous taste in music.I have six cats that I mostly inherited from my grandmother. I wish I could make a couple of these cats disappear, not in the sad or violent way, but in a quantum sense. Like, I could snap my fingers and they would be sucked into a space vortex where they would be erased from my memories and I wouldn’t have to buy 50 tons of litter and food every month.
5)  Is ignorance bliss?
No. It’s hell for people like me who have to deal with your “bliss” while you cut me off without using your turn signal.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
The first art form I ever took on was writing stories. I’d get my action figures together with neighborhood kids and act out entire feature length films through Godzilla monsters and Transformers. Then I’d write little horror stories and draw in the meantime. But I couldn’t get enough, I moved into music, then later in life I went into film making and combined everything I knew. Seriously, I cannot get enough outlets. It has almost destroyed my social life, which quite frankly, I don’t miss. I guess I have my grandfather to thank for all of this. When we weren’t roaming around a video store together for hours at a time reading the back of every VHS sleeve, I was home playing video games or drawing (which I suck at now), or he was reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to me before bed. He saturated me with creative options and outlets. My mother followed suit.
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
Nearly my entire life has been persistently filled with seeking new outlets. When drugs don’t work for you, this is what happens. There is an immense (i.e., unavoidable) cross-over between the mediums in terms of my style and personal theory. I regularly apply much of the same philosophy for writing music as I do when writing a story — and vice versa for creating a song. Film, of course, weaves all of those theories together. I couldn’t live a life with only one medium. I have to have it all.Over time, well, I’ve ended up coining a sort-of “bonsai” approach to art: reducing everything to a beautifully simple picture anyone can digest, but when you look closely, it has all the same detail and life of a huge god damn tree! But, it’s so tiny!
8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
I haven’t achieved that yet, but for now I’ll say beating Ninja Gaiden 2 with a Master Ninja rating on every level.9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
No. I keep my friends few and close. I’m an open book. I have nothing to hide. This greatly reduces the amount of unnecessary stress in my life.
10)  What did you find out after finishing MAXIUMUM DICK THE SHARK SLAYER? What weren’t you expecting?
After Maximum Dick was finished I found out that it doesn’t really matter how little you charge for an eBook, cuz no one’s gonna buy it anyway no matter how undeniably bad ass the title might be.I wasn’t expecting to find a job.
Check out J.G. Barnes’s website and author page for more.

An Interview with J.G. Barnes // Author of MAXIMUM DICK THE SHARK SLAYER.

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

Las Vegas sounds awesome to say you were born there, right? I was, but for some reason my parents thought it would be better if I never had any warm memories of Vegas and instead moved as quickly as possible to Detroit soon after I was born — and no, there isn’t close to perfect swimming water here. It’s like having someone replace your pizza with dried cow shit and then telling you that you can’t even brush your teeth when you’re done eating it.

I still love my parents.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

Freshly applied liquid lawn fertilizer.

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

Formal education? I tried some college, but ultimately found that institutional education and I don’t mix. I can’t stand the environment and clinical structure of it all. Most of my education comes from persistence, a crap ton of trial-and-error, and a lot of internet research. I did very well in school, but never enjoyed it and always felt I could be doing something more productive. The day I graduated, I walked out before my family could snap a picture of me accepting my diploma.


I still love my parents.



Currently, I sell TVs to pay for the truck that basically gets me to the job where I sell TVs. When I’m lucky, I pick up the occasional design, video editing, or music job.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

My girlfriend is an opinionated firecracker just like my mom. I hate her and love her for it. The only things that make me not want to throw her down the stairs is that she’s a super tiny cutie and she has fabulous taste in music.

I have six cats that I mostly inherited from my grandmother. I wish I could make a couple of these cats disappear, not in the sad or violent way, but in a quantum sense. Like, I could snap my fingers and they would be sucked into a space vortex where they would be erased from my memories and I wouldn’t have to buy 50 tons of litter and food every month.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

No. It’s hell for people like me who have to deal with your “bliss” while you cut me off without using your turn signal.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

The first art form I ever took on was writing stories. I’d get my action figures together with neighborhood kids and act out entire feature length films through Godzilla monsters and Transformers. Then I’d write little horror stories and draw in the meantime. But I couldn’t get enough, I moved into music, then later in life I went into film making and combined everything I knew. Seriously, I cannot get enough outlets. It has almost destroyed my social life, which quite frankly, I don’t miss.

I guess I have my grandfather to thank for all of this. When we weren’t roaming around a video store together for hours at a time reading the back of every VHS sleeve, I was home playing video games or drawing (which I suck at now), or he was reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to me before bed. He saturated me with creative options and outlets. My mother followed suit.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

Nearly my entire life has been persistently filled with seeking new outlets. When drugs don’t work for you, this is what happens. There is an immense (i.e., unavoidable) cross-over between the mediums in terms of my style and personal theory. I regularly apply much of the same philosophy for writing music as I do when writing a story — and vice versa for creating a song. Film, of course, weaves all of those theories together. I couldn’t live a life with only one medium. I have to have it all.

Over time, well, I’ve ended up coining a sort-of “bonsai” approach to art: reducing everything to a beautifully simple picture anyone can digest, but when you look closely, it has all the same detail and life of a huge god damn tree! But, it’s so tiny!

8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

I haven’t achieved that yet, but for now I’ll say beating Ninja Gaiden 2 with a Master Ninja rating on every level.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

No. I keep my friends few and close. I’m an open book. I have nothing to hide. This greatly reduces the amount of unnecessary stress in my life.

10)  What did you find out after finishing MAXIUMUM DICK THE SHARK SLAYER? What weren’t you expecting?

After Maximum Dick was finished I found out that it doesn’t really matter how little you charge for an eBook, cuz no one’s gonna buy it anyway no matter how undeniably bad ass the title might be.

I wasn’t expecting to find a job.

Check out J.G. Barnes’s website and author page for more.

An Interview with Chris Welsh // Author of EVIL EYE.
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born in Liverpool, England, and I still live here. I’m two minutes walk away from the reasonably-famous River Mersey but swimming there is a terrible idea. I went scuba diving in one of the nearby docks a few years back, it was full of jellyfish, slimy eels that swished along the floor and silt.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
I’m no sure that I have one, to be honest. Let’s say cookies, or that smokey, warm, tar scent you get when you walk past workmen who are laying roads. it’s probably bad for my lungs though.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
I got a standard UK education. Normal schools, a few years of college where I sat through courses on History, Psychology and a bit of Law. I skipped University in favour of a job and earning money, and I’m still doing a similar thing. My goal is to do well enough with writing that I can do it full-time. Currently I’m writing as much as I can in a bid to make that happen.
4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
At the risk of sounding like a crazed animal-person, I’ll talk about my dog, because he won’t mind so much that he’s being mentioned here. Real people are more difficult to judge.
Bailey is a fluffy little West Highland Terrier who I’ve had since he was a pup, the size of my palm. He spent the first year of his life with a folded-down ear and it looked brilliant, but then he grew up a bit and it straightened out. Recently he’s had to have an eye removed and half of his head shaved, so he looks like a crazed pirate, but it didn’t affect him at all. He’s a tough dog for his size.
5)  Is ignorance bliss?
I guess so. If you don’t know you had a chance to win, it’ll never bother you if you fail. Or something. I don’t know, I’m no philosopher.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
I’ve always done little bits of it when growing up. Just throwaway stories to pass the time. In college I started writing reviews and articles for a music website as a method of tricking PR companies into showering us with guest-list passes and free CDs. It worked really well for a while, then dropped off. I learned, the hard way, that PR companies aren’t thrilled when you write about how awful their releases are. They were usually pretty bad.
I started my first proper story whilst sitting at my desk in an old job that I couldn’t stand. I took the characters around me and pushed them through a zombie outbreak, just for fun. That was about six years ago … I still have the story, albeit tweaked and with almost no reference to any of those people. It’s one of the three novels that I’ve finished writing.
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
At first I was happy just writing for fun, whenever I had a spare few hours to kill. I’d write, save the document, then never really think about it. It was just something I did. Then, for whatever reason, I got it into my head that I should actually try to produce a full novel.
Nowadays I put a lot more planning in, with stories, plots, characters etc. All before I write the first word. I like to know, roughly, where I’m going with it. I have seperate files for the main plot, main characters, secondary characters, themes I want to try and convey…
Even with the short stories that don’t take an incredible amount of time to write, I like to sit and plan and throw ideas at them until something sticks.
So, I guess my ‘practice’ has evolved from a bunch of unconnected documents that don’t really correlate, to a bunch of related documents that don’t LOOK like they make any sense, but actually do. To me.
8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
Just finishing a novel, writing ‘The End’ and actually meaning it. It’s such a personal feeling of accomplishment, but I think I’ll enjoy it even if I end up writing fifty books. It’s so good, it doesn’t even go away when you tell people ‘I finished my book!’ and they look at you weird and say ‘Yeah? So what?’
Very recently I’ve been in contact with a great publisher who are keen on putting out my superhero novel. It’s still in the early stages, contract talks etc, but if that all goes well I’ll probably answer with that next time I’m asked this question.9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
Most are surprised that I write things. My family isn’t especially creative. They read a lot, but the act of sitting down and writing a novel is a little alien to them. I’m a little concerned about letting them read any of my stuff because it can get quite gory, I like to have characters meet grisly ends, and I’m not sure how they’ll react to it.
I think a lot of friends feel the same, for whatever reason, like they don’t quite believe I have it in me to write or make something. I hope I do … kinda just to prove ‘em wrong. I like the thought of that.
10)  What did you find out after finishing THE BEAST OF LEVEL 13? What weren’t you expecting?
That was the first short I wrote with the intention of putting it on Kindle. It was a bit of a learning process. I was surprised mostly by how many people jumped on the free download. With no advertising or even posting the link anywhere, I shifted a good few hundred copies over a few days. My other shorts, Patsy and Separation, did similar business. I’m hoping to replicate it this week with the new one, Evil Eye.
My plan, if you can really call it that, is to write, edit and publish a new short every month. It’s a fun exercise where I can try a few different things, see how people react to new characters etc, without the stress of writing 70,000 words.
I think I’ve surprised myself with how different each one can be, too. Switching up genres is fun; I can’t imagine being someone who writes the same crime drama over and over.
11)  What tips would you give to an inspiring kindle author?
The best advice I could give to anyone who wants to be an author is a little clichéd but I believe it stands true. Just write and keep writing, as much as you can. If you want to self publish, publish anything you think is good enough. If it isn’t good enough, rewrite until it is. Then tell everyone about it, but maybe don’t bother with your family and friends. They won’t care half as much as you think they will. Tell strangers, be confident but not cocky. Take bad reviews with grace and learn from them.
Check out Chris Welsh’s website and author page for more.

An Interview with Chris Welsh // Author of EVIL EYE.

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born in Liverpool, England, and I still live here. I’m two minutes walk away from the reasonably-famous River Mersey but swimming there is a terrible idea. I went scuba diving in one of the nearby docks a few years back, it was full of jellyfish, slimy eels that swished along the floor and silt.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

I’m no sure that I have one, to be honest. Let’s say cookies, or that smokey, warm, tar scent you get when you walk past workmen who are laying roads. it’s probably bad for my lungs though.

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

I got a standard UK education. Normal schools, a few years of college where I sat through courses on History, Psychology and a bit of Law. I skipped University in favour of a job and earning money, and I’m still doing a similar thing. My goal is to do well enough with writing that I can do it full-time. Currently I’m writing as much as I can in a bid to make that happen.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

At the risk of sounding like a crazed animal-person, I’ll talk about my dog, because he won’t mind so much that he’s being mentioned here. Real people are more difficult to judge.

Bailey is a fluffy little West Highland Terrier who I’ve had since he was a pup, the size of my palm. He spent the first year of his life with a folded-down ear and it looked brilliant, but then he grew up a bit and it straightened out. Recently he’s had to have an eye removed and half of his head shaved, so he looks like a crazed pirate, but it didn’t affect him at all. He’s a tough dog for his size.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

I guess so. If you don’t know you had a chance to win, it’ll never bother you if you fail. Or something. I don’t know, I’m no philosopher.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

I’ve always done little bits of it when growing up. Just throwaway stories to pass the time. In college I started writing reviews and articles for a music website as a method of tricking PR companies into showering us with guest-list passes and free CDs. It worked really well for a while, then dropped off. I learned, the hard way, that PR companies aren’t thrilled when you write about how awful their releases are. They were usually pretty bad.

I started my first proper story whilst sitting at my desk in an old job that I couldn’t stand. I took the characters around me and pushed them through a zombie outbreak, just for fun. That was about six years ago … I still have the story, albeit tweaked and with almost no reference to any of those people. It’s one of the three novels that I’ve finished writing.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

At first I was happy just writing for fun, whenever I had a spare few hours to kill. I’d write, save the document, then never really think about it. It was just something I did. Then, for whatever reason, I got it into my head that I should actually try to produce a full novel.

Nowadays I put a lot more planning in, with stories, plots, characters etc. All before I write the first word. I like to know, roughly, where I’m going with it. I have seperate files for the main plot, main characters, secondary characters, themes I want to try and convey…

Even with the short stories that don’t take an incredible amount of time to write, I like to sit and plan and throw ideas at them until something sticks.

So, I guess my ‘practice’ has evolved from a bunch of unconnected documents that don’t really correlate, to a bunch of related documents that don’t LOOK like they make any sense, but actually do. To me.

8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

Just finishing a novel, writing ‘The End’ and actually meaning it. It’s such a personal feeling of accomplishment, but I think I’ll enjoy it even if I end up writing fifty books. It’s so good, it doesn’t even go away when you tell people ‘I finished my book!’ and they look at you weird and say ‘Yeah? So what?’

Very recently I’ve been in contact with a great publisher who are keen on putting out my superhero novel. It’s still in the early stages, contract talks etc, but if that all goes well I’ll probably answer with that next time I’m asked this question.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

Most are surprised that I write things. My family isn’t especially creative. They read a lot, but the act of sitting down and writing a novel is a little alien to them. I’m a little concerned about letting them read any of my stuff because it can get quite gory, I like to have characters meet grisly ends, and I’m not sure how they’ll react to it.

I think a lot of friends feel the same, for whatever reason, like they don’t quite believe I have it in me to write or make something. I hope I do … kinda just to prove ‘em wrong. I like the thought of that.

10)  What did you find out after finishing THE BEAST OF LEVEL 13? What weren’t you expecting?

That was the first short I wrote with the intention of putting it on Kindle. It was a bit of a learning process. I was surprised mostly by how many people jumped on the free download. With no advertising or even posting the link anywhere, I shifted a good few hundred copies over a few days. My other shorts, Patsy and Separation, did similar business. I’m hoping to replicate it this week with the new one, Evil Eye.

My plan, if you can really call it that, is to write, edit and publish a new short every month. It’s a fun exercise where I can try a few different things, see how people react to new characters etc, without the stress of writing 70,000 words.

I think I’ve surprised myself with how different each one can be, too. Switching up genres is fun; I can’t imagine being someone who writes the same crime drama over and over.

11)  What tips would you give to an inspiring kindle author?

The best advice I could give to anyone who wants to be an author is a little clichéd but I believe it stands true. Just write and keep writing, as much as you can. If you want to self publish, publish anything you think is good enough. If it isn’t good enough, rewrite until it is. Then tell everyone about it, but maybe don’t bother with your family and friends. They won’t care half as much as you think they will. Tell strangers, be confident but not cocky. Take bad reviews with grace and learn from them.

Check out Chris Welsh’s website and author page for more.

An Interview with Jarrah Loh // Author of FIGHTING THE STORM
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born and raised in Australia. I currently live in Melbourne, and like 85% of people in this country, yes, I live near the ocean.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
I have a very sensitive sense of smell. I love any citrus or fruit smells. But one of my favorites would have to be the smell of burning cloves. I went to Bali and Indonesia as a child and everywhere you go they smoke clove cigarettes. Every time I get a slight whiff of that same smell, it takes me away to those quaint and crowded side streets of Bali from more than 20 years ago.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
I have been a freelance writer for many years, but my full-time job in Melbourne is the editor of Australia’s number one Mixed Martial Arts magazine Inside MMA. I have a diploma in professional writing and editing, but I do not have a degree in anything. Nevertheless, I have found plenty of success in my career by working hard and taking any opportunity that comes my way. Some people say I am lucky, but I don’t believe in luck, and I know plenty of things I have done, most people would not do. When I first started working for the publisher I am now employed by, I had to drive a three hour round trip every day to get there – and I wasn’t getting paid! Every day the fuel gauge was in the red, as I had no money.
We have interns that come in late every single day and spend most of their time looking at Facebook and handing their work in late. Most of them say they have bad luck.4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
I am married with one daughter and another girl on the way. I also have a Husky named Shadow. She is also a girl.
It is cliche, but I truly did marry my best friend. She was a family friend for years before we were romantically involved at all. My favorite thing about her is that I think she is the only person in the world who holds the exact same political ideal as I do. I’m not talking about government here. I’m talking about opinions on everything in life. We almost always see things the same way, though others rarely do.5)  Is ignorance bliss?
I wouldn’t know ;)6)  How did you get interested in writing?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was a small child, so I couldn’t tell you. I have always been captivated by story and imagination.
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
I am very structured and disciplined in my writing now. Some people are not fans of structure and mapping plots points, but since I began doing this, my writing has grown in leaps and bounds.
8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
In my career, my greatest success would be signing with HarperCollins for my first book. It was a glossy full color guide to UFC and MMA, and it came out exactly as I had envisioned. I can’t tell you what it meant to me when I received a generous contract from them in the mail. Less than five years before I was a depressed fork lift driver with a drinking problem. Now I am literally living the dream. I should thank God for that moment every day. 9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
I think many people believe me to be very confident and driven. I have heard people tell me that things are easier for a person like myself, as if I have all the answers and gifts in the world. I am actually a natural introvert (like most writers) and a lot of things I do are extremely hard for me – but I fight hard to battle it every day!
10)  What did you find out after finishing FIGHTING THE STORM? What weren’t you expecting?
That I can complete a novel much easier than I’d thought. For years I’d tried at different projects, but Fighting the Storm really freed me and I feel like I’ve learned the secret – but it’s only one you can learn by doing it yourself!
Check out Jarrah Loh’s website for more.

An Interview with Jarrah Loh // Author of FIGHTING THE STORM

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born and raised in Australia. I currently live in Melbourne, and like 85% of people in this country, yes, I live near the ocean.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

I have a very sensitive sense of smell. I love any citrus or fruit smells. But one of my favorites would have to be the smell of burning cloves. I went to Bali and Indonesia as a child and everywhere you go they smoke clove cigarettes. Every time I get a slight whiff of that same smell, it takes me away to those quaint and crowded side streets of Bali from more than 20 years ago.

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

I have been a freelance writer for many years, but my full-time job in Melbourne is the editor of Australia’s number one Mixed Martial Arts magazine Inside MMA. I have a diploma in professional writing and editing, but I do not have a degree in anything. Nevertheless, I have found plenty of success in my career by working hard and taking any opportunity that comes my way. Some people say I am lucky, but I don’t believe in luck, and I know plenty of things I have done, most people would not do. When I first started working for the publisher I am now employed by, I had to drive a three hour round trip every day to get there – and I wasn’t getting paid! Every day the fuel gauge was in the red, as I had no money.

We have interns that come in late every single day and spend most of their time looking at Facebook and handing their work in late. Most of them say they have bad luck.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

I am married with one daughter and another girl on the way. I also have a Husky named Shadow. She is also a girl.

It is cliche, but I truly did marry my best friend. She was a family friend for years before we were romantically involved at all. My favorite thing about her is that I think she is the only person in the world who holds the exact same political ideal as I do. I’m not talking about government here. I’m talking about opinions on everything in life. We almost always see things the same way, though others rarely do.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

I wouldn’t know ;)

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a small child, so I couldn’t tell you. I have always been captivated by story and imagination.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

I am very structured and disciplined in my writing now. Some people are not fans of structure and mapping plots points, but since I began doing this, my writing has grown in leaps and bounds.

8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

In my career, my greatest success would be signing with HarperCollins for my first book. It was a glossy full color guide to UFC and MMA, and it came out exactly as I had envisioned. I can’t tell you what it meant to me when I received a generous contract from them in the mail. Less than five years before I was a depressed fork lift driver with a drinking problem. Now I am literally living the dream. I should thank God for that moment every day.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

I think many people believe me to be very confident and driven. I have heard people tell me that things are easier for a person like myself, as if I have all the answers and gifts in the world. I am actually a natural introvert (like most writers) and a lot of things I do are extremely hard for me – but I fight hard to battle it every day!

10)  What did you find out after finishing FIGHTING THE STORM? What weren’t you expecting?

That I can complete a novel much easier than I’d thought. For years I’d tried at different projects, but Fighting the Storm really freed me and I feel like I’ve learned the secret – but it’s only one you can learn by doing it yourself!

Check out Jarrah Loh’s website for more.

An Interview with Gil C. Schmidt // Author of ENTER THE PHENOMENOLOGISTS
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born in Ramey Air Force base, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. That makes me an Air Force brat. I live in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, about 30 miles south of Aguadilla, so in terms of work, I ain’t done much. (Physics joke. I giggle.) Yes, I am close to perfect swimming water, as there are not 1, not 2, but 3 beautiful beaches with perfect conditions within a few miles of my house. My house has an appalling lack of perfect swimming water.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
Choosing only one, pepperoni pizza, fresh out of the oven.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
I majored in Biology and Chemistry at Ole Miss and then really started learning about things as a consultant, primarily with start-ups. Have freelanced all my life, from education and communication to game design and non-profit fundraising. Make my living now primarily as a writer, but most of my income is from writing funding proposals. My fiction has yet to hit 3 figures a month, which is not good as my wife’s 96% cut tends to leave me with only lunch money…if “lunch” is defined as a cup of coffee and toast.4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
Yes. I have a wife, named María. (Insert Johnny Mathis “West Side Story” song here.) I met her many years ago through a mutual friend at an open-air band concert where she played First Clarinet. (Not a song, but a position. Like “striker” or “goalie” or something.) I joked that the band’s playing made it hard to distinguish between “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Macarena.” She married me anyway. Eventually. What I like most about her is her intelligence. (Not kidding, people.) She’s a medical doctor with extraordinary empathy. I’m neither a doctor nor empathic, so I admire those qualities in her. (That she is also beautiful is, uh, secondary.) I have a son, who is 12 and thus more emotionally mature than me. He’s a scholar/athlete, so my retirement plan is built around him. I don’t have a dog or cat. That I know of.5)  Is ignorance bliss?
Yes. No. I don’t know. It is when knowledge stresses you out, like global warming, deficit spending and Ebola mutating to spread through air. It isn’t when lack of knowledge stresses you out, like having to find a new job, fighting a serious disease or betting on football. I guess my answer then is “It depends.” 6)  How did you get interested in writing?
By reading everything I could as a kid, from encyclopedias to comic books. I learned to like certain stories and find others “dull” or “stupid.” Figuring out why made me want to try to write my own stories, to see if I could do better. I still read a ton, and I’ve been writing for over 30 years, but I’d like to spend more time writing. 
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
I used to write to “dazzle” the reader, to make him/her think I was going one way, then turning to another. O. Henry beat me to that by about 90 years. Then I started to write to explore concepts, characters and worlds I imagined. When I started getting paid to write articles and business pieces, I sought ways to make my writing more “narrative,” more like storytelling than “business lineal.” I gained a reputation for writing interesting pieces and that has kept me going as a freelance writer. Now I write to make my imagination real for the reader, not so conscious of the reader that I cater solely to him/her, but as if they were watching me paint a mural: my work is my focus, but I want them to enjoy the results of my efforts.
8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
My son. Really. Many parents have this strong desire for their kids to “be like me.” I always wanted my son to “be better than me.” In many ways, he is. He’s a very good student, a darn good basketball player, a fierce competitor in almost every endeavor and he makes friends more easily than me, without being anybody but himself. His combination of abilities now is greater than mine was at that age, so I believe he’s well on his way. And yet, he’s only read about 4 of the 80+ stories I’ve published and barely one of my over 900 articles. Hmmm.9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
That I hurt more often than they imagine. Not physically, but emotionally. I project an easy-going manner that hides the fact that I take things very hard, that I’m often upset by actions and words that probably aren’t meant to inflict pain. And that I’m very hard on myself in general, but especially because of this over-sensitive (in my opinion) nature. I’ve gotten better about it over the years, but not to the point where I feel I’m in balance more often than not.
10)  What did you find out after finishing ENTER THE PHENOMENOLOGISTS? What weren’t you expecting?
Two things: I found out I could write fluidly, without missing a beat, which meant I could quiet my inner critic to the point where it became irrelevant. Two, that there was much to explore in my writing, my characters and the way I told stories. I wrote the first story only as an example for the magazine my friend was publishing: it was meant as a test piece and nothing more. But the characters kept coming back to mind with stories I felt I had to tell. What I didn’t expect was how much more about them I would find myself exploring. There’s at least 7 stories in development and probably a dozen more that will have to be told to get the full stories of all the characters out there in front of readers. That’s the surprise: that they are increasingly vivid to me and to readers. What else can anyone call that but “fun”?
Check out Gil C. Schmidt’s author page for more.

An Interview with Gil C. Schmidt // Author of ENTER THE PHENOMENOLOGISTS

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born in Ramey Air Force base, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. That makes me an Air Force brat. I live in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, about 30 miles south of Aguadilla, so in terms of work, I ain’t done much. (Physics joke. I giggle.) Yes, I am close to perfect swimming water, as there are not 1, not 2, but 3 beautiful beaches with perfect conditions within a few miles of my house. My house has an appalling lack of perfect swimming water.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

Choosing only one, pepperoni pizza, fresh out of the oven.

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

I majored in Biology and Chemistry at Ole Miss and then really started learning about things as a consultant, primarily with start-ups. Have freelanced all my life, from education and communication to game design and non-profit fundraising. Make my living now primarily as a writer, but most of my income is from writing funding proposals. My fiction has yet to hit 3 figures a month, which is not good as my wife’s 96% cut tends to leave me with only lunch money…if “lunch” is defined as a cup of coffee and toast.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

Yes. I have a wife, named María. (Insert Johnny Mathis “West Side Story” song here.) I met her many years ago through a mutual friend at an open-air band concert where she played First Clarinet. (Not a song, but a position. Like “striker” or “goalie” or something.) I joked that the band’s playing made it hard to distinguish between “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Macarena.” She married me anyway. Eventually. What I like most about her is her intelligence. (Not kidding, people.) She’s a medical doctor with extraordinary empathy. I’m neither a doctor nor empathic, so I admire those qualities in her. (That she is also beautiful is, uh, secondary.) I have a son, who is 12 and thus more emotionally mature than me. He’s a scholar/athlete, so my retirement plan is built around him. I don’t have a dog or cat. That I know of.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

Yes. No. I don’t know. It is when knowledge stresses you out, like global warming, deficit spending and Ebola mutating to spread through air. It isn’t when lack of knowledge stresses you out, like having to find a new job, fighting a serious disease or betting on football. I guess my answer then is “It depends.”

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

By reading everything I could as a kid, from encyclopedias to comic books. I learned to like certain stories and find others “dull” or “stupid.” Figuring out why made me want to try to write my own stories, to see if I could do better. I still read a ton, and I’ve been writing for over 30 years, but I’d like to spend more time writing.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

I used to write to “dazzle” the reader, to make him/her think I was going one way, then turning to another. O. Henry beat me to that by about 90 years. Then I started to write to explore concepts, characters and worlds I imagined. When I started getting paid to write articles and business pieces, I sought ways to make my writing more “narrative,” more like storytelling than “business lineal.” I gained a reputation for writing interesting pieces and that has kept me going as a freelance writer. Now I write to make my imagination real for the reader, not so conscious of the reader that I cater solely to him/her, but as if they were watching me paint a mural: my work is my focus, but I want them to enjoy the results of my efforts.


8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

My son. Really. Many parents have this strong desire for their kids to “be like me.” I always wanted my son to “be better than me.” In many ways, he is. He’s a very good student, a darn good basketball player, a fierce competitor in almost every endeavor and he makes friends more easily than me, without being anybody but himself. His combination of abilities now is greater than mine was at that age, so I believe he’s well on his way. And yet, he’s only read about 4 of the 80+ stories I’ve published and barely one of my over 900 articles. Hmmm.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

That I hurt more often than they imagine. Not physically, but emotionally. I project an easy-going manner that hides the fact that I take things very hard, that I’m often upset by actions and words that probably aren’t meant to inflict pain. And that I’m very hard on myself in general, but especially because of this over-sensitive (in my opinion) nature. I’ve gotten better about it over the years, but not to the point where I feel I’m in balance more often than not.

10)  What did you find out after finishing ENTER THE PHENOMENOLOGISTS? What weren’t you expecting?

Two things: I found out I could write fluidly, without missing a beat, which meant I could quiet my inner critic to the point where it became irrelevant. Two, that there was much to explore in my writing, my characters and the way I told stories. I wrote the first story only as an example for the magazine my friend was publishing: it was meant as a test piece and nothing more. But the characters kept coming back to mind with stories I felt I had to tell. What I didn’t expect was how much more about them I would find myself exploring. There’s at least 7 stories in development and probably a dozen more that will have to be told to get the full stories of all the characters out there in front of readers. That’s the surprise: that they are increasingly vivid to me and to readers. What else can anyone call that but “fun”?

Check out Gil C. Schmidt’s author page for more.

An Interview with Becky Lower // Author of THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE: Book 1 of the Cotillion Ball Series  
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born in Akron, Ohio and left Ohio right after college. I’ve lived in seven different states, and recently boomeranged back to Ohio to be near family. I wouldn’t consider Lake Erie good swimming water, but there’s a nice pool here in town.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
I love the smell of roses. At my last house, I had a yard full of them. It’ll take awhile, but I will have my rose garden here in Ohio someday.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a journalism and English major. My career ended up being in marketing, but the degrees have come in handy now that I’m writing full-time. When I’m not piecing together plots, I like to piece together jigsaw puzzles. And quilts.4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
It’s kind of ironic that I write romance but have never been married. I’ve had some nice relationships, but they all ended poorly. I like writing about romance because I can write a proper ending. No kids, either, but I have a very sweet puppy-mill rescue dog named Mary.  5)  Is ignorance bliss?
In a lot of cases, yes.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
I learned to read. As soon as that happened, I started making up my own stories. Plus, my family has provided me with many great stories. You can’t make this stuff up. 
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
When I was 12, I sent a screenplay to Bonanza. That resulted in my first-ever rejection letter. It was a very nice rejection letter, but I now steer clear of screenplays. These days I write historical romances set in America, and baby-boomer contemporaries.
8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
My greatest success has been being able to work at my writing full-time, at long last.9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
No. My life is an open book. They probably know too much about me.
10)  What did you find out after finishing THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE? What weren’t you expecting?
I found out that the hard work had just begun. Now, I’m trying to promote the first book while writing the second, and the third. And to make them as good as the first one. I’m learning more about social media than I ever thought I would have to know. My website just went live in June. Please come over and visit: www.beckylowerauthor.com.

An Interview with Becky Lower // Author of THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE: Book 1 of the Cotillion Ball Series 

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born in Akron, Ohio and left Ohio right after college. I’ve lived in seven different states, and recently boomeranged back to Ohio to be near family. I wouldn’t consider Lake Erie good swimming water, but there’s a nice pool here in town.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

I love the smell of roses. At my last house, I had a yard full of them. It’ll take awhile, but I will have my rose garden here in Ohio someday.

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

I graduated from Bowling Green State University with a journalism and English major. My career ended up being in marketing, but the degrees have come in handy now that I’m writing full-time. When I’m not piecing together plots, I like to piece together jigsaw puzzles. And quilts.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

It’s kind of ironic that I write romance but have never been married. I’ve had some nice relationships, but they all ended poorly. I like writing about romance because I can write a proper ending. No kids, either, but I have a very sweet puppy-mill rescue dog named Mary. 

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

In a lot of cases, yes.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

I learned to read. As soon as that happened, I started making up my own stories. Plus, my family has provided me with many great stories. You can’t make this stuff up.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

When I was 12, I sent a screenplay to Bonanza. That resulted in my first-ever rejection letter. It was a very nice rejection letter, but I now steer clear of screenplays. These days I write historical romances set in America, and baby-boomer contemporaries.


8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

My greatest success has been being able to work at my writing full-time, at long last.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

No. My life is an open book. They probably know too much about me.

10)  What did you find out after finishing THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE? What weren’t you expecting?

I found out that the hard work had just begun. Now, I’m trying to promote the first book while writing the second, and the third. And to make them as good as the first one. I’m learning more about social media than I ever thought I would have to know. My website just went live in June. Please come over and visit: www.beckylowerauthor.com.

An Interview with Serafima Bogomolova // Author of MY TRICKSTER
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born in a romantic and poetic city of St Petersburg, Russia. Currently I live in Dubai, UAE on a beautiful stretch of Jumeira Beach. Yes, I live in a sea view flat on the 31 floor of a 50 story glass building that stands on the Jumeira Beach promenade. The beach is just across the road, and the sea is of a perfect turquoise colour. 
2)  What is your favorite smell?
It is hard to say which smells are my favourite, because it all depends on my mood. But I can single out the following smells that, no matter what mood I am in, would appeal to me.  They are the smell of coffee, the smell of cigars, and the smell of pine forest.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
I have got two degrees: one in English Language and Literature (received in St Petersburg Institute of Foreign Languages), and one in Hospitality Management received in Helsinki, Finland. Right now, I am a full time writer. I love writing, travelling, reading books, and spending time with my friends.4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
Well, I am married, no kids. I met my husband while travelling in Denmark.  My favourite thing about him is that he lets me have lots of personal space, which is very important for such an independent person as I am, and supports me financially and morally in my writing career. I do not have pets, simply because I like to travel a lot and in my case having pets means I would have to leave them alone for long periods of time, which I find inhumane, so I prefer to have none. 5)  Is ignorance bliss?
Ignorance is a curse. Living in ignorance is not living but existing. I believe that there are two types of ignorance: ignorance by choice, and ‘circumstantial’ ignorance, normally created by high authorities or the society in order to keep people under control.  In either case, it can tremendously limit our lives and lead to all sorts of illusions that do more harm than good. Curiosity and inquisitiveness are natural human states that guide us in our lives prompting us to learn and develop, and should never be suppressed.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
As far as I remember I have always been interested in writing.  I cannot recall a precise moment in time when I realised I want to be a writer. Deep in my heart I have always known that, it is just that until recently I was not ready to properly acknowledge my own talent and share my writings with wide audience. But now I do, and that is why I have written my first book, ‘My Trickster’.
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
I do not really practice, I just write, and while writing I explore and perfect my style. I consider writing an art, and that is why for me it is impossible to practice writing. When I write, I create.
8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
My greatest achievement so far is uncovering true self, and becoming confident in my abilities, talents, and beliefs. This, to me, is the greatest success that can ever be.  Being true self is the most wonderful state I have experienced so far, free of internal conflicts, doubts, and other people’s perceptions, and opinions.9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
Perhaps, they would be very surprised to learn that my easy going and no worries approach in life and my crude and at times ruthless attitude in business shield my true self: generous, loving, and full of magnificent light. 10)  What did you find out after finishing MY TRICKSTER? What weren’t you expecting?
The most important finding for me after finishing ‘My Trickster’ was discovery of my own unique writing style. The style I was not aware of, but which crystallised in the cause of writing my first book. 
What I did not expect is that on completion of the book I would immediately start missing the connection I had with my own creation. But, I felt that I had to distance myself from it, in order for the book to start living its own life. 

An Interview with Serafima Bogomolova // Author of MY TRICKSTER

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born in a romantic and poetic city of St Petersburg, Russia. Currently I live in Dubai, UAE on a beautiful stretch of Jumeira Beach. Yes, I live in a sea view flat on the 31 floor of a 50 story glass building that stands on the Jumeira Beach promenade. The beach is just across the road, and the sea is of a perfect turquoise colour. 

2)  What is your favorite smell?

It is hard to say which smells are my favourite, because it all depends on my mood. But I can single out the following smells that, no matter what mood I am in, would appeal to me.  They are the smell of coffee, the smell of cigars, and the smell of pine forest.

3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

I have got two degrees: one in English Language and Literature (received in St Petersburg Institute of Foreign Languages), and one in Hospitality Management received in Helsinki, Finland. Right now, I am a full time writer. I love writing, travelling, reading books, and spending time with my friends.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

Well, I am married, no kids. I met my husband while travelling in Denmark.  My favourite thing about him is that he lets me have lots of personal space, which is very important for such an independent person as I am, and supports me financially and morally in my writing career. I do not have pets, simply because I like to travel a lot and in my case having pets means I would have to leave them alone for long periods of time, which I find inhumane, so I prefer to have none. 

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

Ignorance is a curse. Living in ignorance is not living but existing. I believe that there are two types of ignorance: ignorance by choice, and ‘circumstantial’ ignorance, normally created by high authorities or the society in order to keep people under control.  In either case, it can tremendously limit our lives and lead to all sorts of illusions that do more harm than good. Curiosity and inquisitiveness are natural human states that guide us in our lives prompting us to learn and develop, and should never be suppressed.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

As far as I remember I have always been interested in writing.  I cannot recall a precise moment in time when I realised I want to be a writer. Deep in my heart I have always known that, it is just that until recently I was not ready to properly acknowledge my own talent and share my writings with wide audience. But now I do, and that is why I have written my first book, ‘My Trickster’.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

I do not really practice, I just write, and while writing I explore and perfect my style. I consider writing an art, and that is why for me it is impossible to practice writing. When I write, I create.


8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

My greatest achievement so far is uncovering true self, and becoming confident in my abilities, talents, and beliefs. This, to me, is the greatest success that can ever be.  Being true self is the most wonderful state I have experienced so far, free of internal conflicts, doubts, and other people’s perceptions, and opinions.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

Perhaps, they would be very surprised to learn that my easy going and no worries approach in life and my crude and at times ruthless attitude in business shield my true self: generous, loving, and full of magnificent light. 

10)  What did you find out after finishing MY TRICKSTER? What weren’t you expecting?

The most important finding for me after finishing ‘My Trickster’ was discovery of my own unique writing style. The style I was not aware of, but which crystallised in the cause of writing my first book. 

What I did not expect is that on completion of the book I would immediately start missing the connection I had with my own creation. But, I felt that I had to distance myself from it, in order for the book to start living its own life. 

An Interview with Mitchell Anne Hagerstrom// Author of MISS GONE-OVERSEAS 
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
Born in Iowa City, Iowa, now live in Austin, Texas. The famous Barton Springs is a stone’s throw but I hate cold water and have never done more than dip a toe in it. Just after dusk, when the summer temperatures exceed 110, the pool at my apartment complex feels just right, feels like silk.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
Fresh sawdust at an East Texas lumber mill.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
My education has been from books lugged home from the public library. I was a mediocre student in grammar & high school – meaning I excelled in English and geography while flunking math and penmanship. When I finally went for my BA, I was in my early 30s and majored in English (reading books). Classes were small, teachers were excellent; going to classes was like going to a round of cocktail parties everyday – no smoking or drinking, but extremely lively discussions about very good books. I work in a public library – the pay keeps a roof over my head and the easy access to books keeps me in continuing-education mode.4)  Tell us  about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What  is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you  have children)? How about a dog or cat?
I’m a sucker for good writers. My current husband sat across from my younger brother in 9th grade – so I’ve known him that long, known him through his two previous wives. We got together through an email courtship – it was obvious right off that he’s a terrific writer, though our styles and interests are totally different. My daughter is my delight. We’re half a continent apart, but as close as phone & email allow.5)  Is ignorance bliss?
Probably. Why else do people watch reality shows on t.v. or read stacks of romance paperbacks (devouring them like a boxes of bon-bons) – to the exclusion of pursuits that require some brain-input? It may be bliss but it is certainly very selfish to refuse to educate oneself – the world will never be a better place if it’s entirely populated with dumb-asses.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
I got seriously interested when I went to a reading given by one of my teachers – I was gobsmacked by the emotional power of the words, words written by someone I actually knew. I wanted to do that, too. After I started writing I would occasionally go to the library and be unable to find anything I wanted. What I wanted was to read the book I was then writing.
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
At first I wrote in longhand & then typed, and retyped, and then retyped some more, draft after draft, edit after edit.  Computers make it all so much easier. But I still find it difficult to actually “finish” something – seems there is always a way to make it better.8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
Learning to cut my own hair.9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
Nothing would surprise family or friends, a lot would surprise acquaintances. However, I suspect all but a small number of intimate family & friends were surprised by this book.10)  What did you find out after finishing MISS GONE-OVERSEAS? What weren’t you expecting?
The book ends at a logical place, but I cannot let this character go. I’ve put what I thought would be my next project on hold and I’m working on a series of short stories that are related to the book. What I wasn’t expecting was the feedback from both male and female readers who do not normally read historical fictions: they fall in love with her – just like I have.

An Interview with Mitchell Anne Hagerstrom// Author of MISS GONE-OVERSEAS

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

Born in Iowa City, Iowa, now live in Austin, Texas. The famous Barton Springs is a stone’s throw but I hate cold water and have never done more than dip a toe in it. Just after dusk, when the summer temperatures exceed 110, the pool at my apartment complex feels just right, feels like silk.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

Fresh sawdust at an East Texas lumber mill.


3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

My education has been from books lugged home from the public library. I was a mediocre student in grammar & high school – meaning I excelled in English and geography while flunking math and penmanship. When I finally went for my BA, I was in my early 30s and majored in English (reading books). Classes were small, teachers were excellent; going to classes was like going to a round of cocktail parties everyday – no smoking or drinking, but extremely lively discussions about very good books. I work in a public library – the pay keeps a roof over my head and the easy access to books keeps me in continuing-education mode.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

I’m a sucker for good writers. My current husband sat across from my younger brother in 9th grade – so I’ve known him that long, known him through his two previous wives. We got together through an email courtship – it was obvious right off that he’s a terrific writer, though our styles and interests are totally different. My daughter is my delight. We’re half a continent apart, but as close as phone & email allow.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

Probably. Why else do people watch reality shows on t.v. or read stacks of romance paperbacks (devouring them like a boxes of bon-bons) – to the exclusion of pursuits that require some brain-input? It may be bliss but it is certainly very selfish to refuse to educate oneself – the world will never be a better place if it’s entirely populated with dumb-asses.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

I got seriously interested when I went to a reading given by one of my teachers – I was gobsmacked by the emotional power of the words, words written by someone I actually knew. I wanted to do that, too. After I started writing I would occasionally go to the library and be unable to find anything I wanted. What I wanted was to read the book I was then writing.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

At first I wrote in longhand & then typed, and retyped, and then retyped some more, draft after draft, edit after edit.  Computers make it all so much easier. But I still find it difficult to actually “finish” something – seems there is always a way to make it better.

8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

Learning to cut my own hair.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

Nothing would surprise family or friends, a lot would surprise acquaintances. However, I suspect all but a small number of intimate family & friends were surprised by this book.

10)  What did you find out after finishing MISS GONE-OVERSEAS? What weren’t you expecting?

The book ends at a logical place, but I cannot let this character go. I’ve put what I thought would be my next project on hold and I’m working on a series of short stories that are related to the book. What I wasn’t expecting was the feedback from both male and female readers who do not normally read historical fictions: they fall in love with her – just like I have.

An Interview with Dan Boehl // Author of Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt 
1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?
I was born in Baltimore, MD. Now I live in Austin, TX. I am really close to perfect swimming water. Barton Springs, when there aren’t too many people in it.
2)  What is your favorite smell?
I think my favorite smell is Corn Huskers Lotion.
3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).
So far the first two answers start with “I”. I don’t like when that happens, but it seems hard to avoid. Weird. Anyway, my BA is in English. That came from Roanoke College. My MFA is in Poetry. That came from Emerson College. One of these colleges was in the county, another in the city. The University of Texas employs me as a writer. I work for the central fundraising department. I know a lot about endowments. I sort of consider my job a full-time hobby. 4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?
I met my girlfriend through a mutual friend. Her name is Tory and she is an identical twin. My favorite thing about her is that she makes things, but only when there is a reason to, like on a holiday or birthday. I have an awesome dog, Bea, but she lives with my first wife. I do not yet have a second wife.5)  Is ignorance bliss?
Not really. When people don’t know what is going on, bad things happen. Like the Great Recession. That happened because no one was watching the banks rape and pillage ordinary citizens who wanted to pursue the American Dream and own homes. There are other examples of this, but in general, ignorance is awful. My novel and my first full-length book of poetry deal with this a lot.6)  How did you get interested in writing?
My interest in writing came from my love of reading. When I was ten or eleven I tried to write a story. It didn’t work, but since then I wanted to write and tell stories. Now I do it. My job gets in the way, but I write a lot, too.
7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?
When I got out of grad school, I had a hard time writing fiction consistently. So, after three years, I made a deal with myself that I would get up early in the morning and write before I did anything else. This is how I have been able to write and finish books. Now, when I am not working on a story I get up early anyway and read or do other writing related work. 8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?
My greatest success so far is my poetry book Kings of the F**king Sea. The book is good and it includes original art by my friend Jonathan Marshall. It is a book that would not exist as it is if I did not have the support of my publishing company, Birds, LLC. I am very proud of it. 9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?
Yes. There are a few things they would be surprised to know. But after they knew them, they would no longer be surprised. I can be pretty weird.10)  What did you find out after finishing NAOMI AND THE HORSE-FLAVORED T-SHIRT? What weren’t you expecting? In what ways was it different/similar from KINGS OF THE F**KING SEA?
After finishing Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt I found out that I wanted to be done with it. I had been working on it for 6 years and I wanted it to go away. That is why I self-published it. I just could not think about it anymore. I was not expecting to self-publish it, so, I guess that is a surprise.Noami is much different than Kings, because in a very real sense, Kings is about me, Dan Boehl, as a person. The main character in that book is me. Naomi is about creating a crazy fantasy world and Kings is about finding meaning in a chaotic world.

An Interview with Dan Boehl // Author of Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt

1)  Where were you born, where do you live now, and are you close to perfect swimming water?

I was born in Baltimore, MD. Now I live in Austin, TX. I am really close to perfect swimming water. Barton Springs, when there aren’t too many people in it.

2)  What is your favorite smell?

I think my favorite smell is Corn Huskers Lotion.


3)  Tell us about your education and what you do now (jobs and hobbies).

So far the first two answers start with “I”. I don’t like when that happens, but it seems hard to avoid. Weird. Anyway, my BA is in English. That came from Roanoke College. My MFA is in Poetry. That came from Emerson College. One of these colleges was in the county, another in the city. The University of Texas employs me as a writer. I work for the central fundraising department. I know a lot about endowments. I sort of consider my job a full-time hobby.

4)  Tell us about your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife. How did you meet? What is your favorite thing about him/her? How about your children (if you have children)? How about a dog or cat?

I met my girlfriend through a mutual friend. Her name is Tory and she is an identical twin. My favorite thing about her is that she makes things, but only when there is a reason to, like on a holiday or birthday. I have an awesome dog, Bea, but she lives with my first wife. I do not yet have a second wife.

5)  Is ignorance bliss?

Not really. When people don’t know what is going on, bad things happen. Like the Great Recession. That happened because no one was watching the banks rape and pillage ordinary citizens who wanted to pursue the American Dream and own homes. There are other examples of this, but in general, ignorance is awful. My novel and my first full-length book of poetry deal with this a lot.

6)  How did you get interested in writing?

My interest in writing came from my love of reading. When I was ten or eleven I tried to write a story. It didn’t work, but since then I wanted to write and tell stories. Now I do it. My job gets in the way, but I write a lot, too.

7)  How has your practice evolved over the course of time?

When I got out of grad school, I had a hard time writing fiction consistently. So, after three years, I made a deal with myself that I would get up early in the morning and write before I did anything else. This is how I have been able to write and finish books. Now, when I am not working on a story I get up early anyway and read or do other writing related work.

8)  What do you consider to be your greatest success?

My greatest success so far is my poetry book Kings of the F**king Sea. The book is good and it includes original art by my friend Jonathan Marshall. It is a book that would not exist as it is if I did not have the support of my publishing company, Birds, LLC. I am very proud of it.

9)  Is there any thing that your family or friends would be surprised to learn about you?

Yes. There are a few things they would be surprised to know. But after they knew them, they would no longer be surprised. I can be pretty weird.

10)  What did you find out after finishing NAOMI AND THE HORSE-FLAVORED T-SHIRT? What weren’t you expecting? In what ways was it different/similar from KINGS OF THE F**KING SEA?

After finishing Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt I found out that I wanted to be done with it. I had been working on it for 6 years and I wanted it to go away. That is why I self-published it. I just could not think about it anymore. I was not expecting to self-publish it, so, I guess that is a surprise.

Noami is much different than Kings, because in a very real sense, Kings is about me, Dan Boehl, as a person. The main character in that book is me. Naomi is about creating a crazy fantasy world and Kings is about finding meaning in a chaotic world.

herocious:

Behind the scenes look at Tiny TOE Press making M. L. Kennedy’s Mosquito Song. If you dig bookmaking and/or stop motion and/or apathetic vampires, you’ll dig this shit.

Reblogged from herocious with 10 notes