Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hello Kristan Cannon!

Week three of the Summer Splash Blog Tour!
This week, I'd like to welcome back Kristan Cannon. You may remember her from “Boldy Going Where...”, as the proprietor of the Lone Wolf Bookstore. Today, I've asked her some questions about her work as an author.

Tell me now; who are you?
I suddenly feel like I should be singing that opening to CSI:Miami.

Haha! I'll cue the theme music! In the meantime, why don't you tell us more about what you write?
I write mostly speculative fiction, which means I bounce around from post-apocalyptic to near-future sci-fi, and low-magic urban fantasy.  Worlds that are recognizably our own with minor changes.  I ask a whole lot of "What if?  What would be different in our lives?"

So tell me a bit about yourself; What else do you like to do?
Lots.  I have a weakness for chocolate and coffee, and I like to sail and spend time in the outdoors.  I paint and draw, sometimes mixing the two into mixed media... pictures that are not 100% drawn and paintings where the drawn part is easily seen.  I use watercolour, so much of the painting is used to highlight the pencil and ink work.

I've seen pictures of your sailboat! Completely gorgeous. I love mixed media art, you can achieve so many textures and details that would be lost otherwise.
What is your favorite way to story build and brainstorm?
I start with building and creating my characters.  People who are living life like you or me, and perhaps, if the story calls for it, they may have magical abilities or something that only exists in the realm of hard sci fi right now.  Afterwards I ask what kind of world these characters live in.  Why are they the way they are.
And then I create drama for them to react to.

How do you create your characters?
I used to play a lot of the game Rifts, or even D&D, so I typically create a character using those rules.  It gives me a fair idea of their abilities and limitations.  Even when I create characters based on people I know, I still use the same template and method.  I just recreate them using Beyond the Supernatural (a Palladium game book) with a bit of the game Dead Reign mixed in so they are as realistic as possible, even if not perfectly a clone of their inspiration.  Actually, there are usually some key differences between the character and the inspiration behind that character.  Changes I twisted to match the environment or to hide key facts about them to protect their privacy from strangers.
Normally, though, the characters are more or less randomly created using the rules from BTS, with personalities using other generators.  This creates random people that breathe life into the books because they're not all clones of each other but instead are their own unique individual.

What was the best feedback you've ever gotten from a reader?
That they believed the characters were real, even if they knew that a few of them were based on real people, the fact that even the bit characters were so different instead of cookie cutter.  When I manage to suspend belief over a character being real to someone or not, I've done my job as a writer.

That is absolutely fantastic. And not easy to achieve.
Tell me more about your writing: What was your first published work?
I can't even remember that anymore.  It was a short story in a magazine I didn't expect to get published.  It might have even been Blue Star (a fan fiction piece I wrote before fan fiction was a thing) that got published in a fanzine.

Do you have a favorite project so far? What makes it so?
So far, it's the Kingdom of Walden series.  The first book wasn't even supposed to get published--I had written it on a lark--but people liked it too much.  Soon, others liked it and wanted more, so I continued it with the intent of it being only a trilogy.  Now it's a series, with a fourth book already written and ready to for editing and plans for more.  It's my favourite, so far, because it's a book series that takes place where I live.  I live in a city that has played host to many a Hollywood star and movie, but never as the city itself.  We've always stood in for somewhere else.  This series actually showcases our city and the surrounding area... front and centre.

What's next on your agenda? What can we look forward to in the coming year?
The third book of the Kingdom of Walden series is coming out at the end of August, and it's called Between Silence and Fire.  I know there's been a few readers eagerly waiting for it to hit shelves.  I might finish a painting, or perhaps even a sculpture, or two before the end of the year.  We'll see.

Why did you decide to write and publish?
I don't remember ever thinking I wouldn't.  It was just a matter of what was going to end up on shelves and when.

What do you think is your driving force behind your writing? What keeps you going?
I can't imagine doing anything else, so it would be what keeps me going when other things are too much.

The mother of all questions: Tell us about a favorite book?
I have too many, but right now my favourite is Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon.  Horses, space travel, a space navy and two strong badass women leading.

Anything else you'd like our adoring masses to know?
I will be opening a bookstore soon in Sudbury. (Lone Wolf Bookstore) Keep an eye out for that!  We welcome indie authors for signings and other events, even a NaNoWriMo event or two.  Bring us your write-ins and cafe crawls!  We're hoping to be open in time for NaNo 2016.

Kristan Cannon
Author of
The Kingdom of Walden Series
and upcoming 
Between Silence and Fire

Monday, July 18, 2016

Interview with S. D. Ferrell

It's time to kick off the Summer Splash Blog Tour, my Darlings. I'd like you all to give a warm welcome to my new friend, S. D.

Tell us now; who are you?
I am S.D. Ferrell, author of the Whipple Wash Chronicles, a new fantasy adventure series for readers of all ages.

What is it that you write?
I have written four novels thus far, in several genres; fantasy adventure, adult comedy and cozy erotica. I have also written several poems, but I have yet to make them into a book.

What fun, such diversity in your works!
So tell me a bit about yourself; What else do you like to do?
I love working with my hands, whether it be in my garden planting flowers or creating artwork in my home studio. I also have a fondness and a keen interest in all things architectural in nature. I was, in the recent past, a kitchen designer by trade. I loved assisting customers with their renovation projects.

Ooh, truly? Now I know who to brainstorm with when I get my kitchen!
So why did you decide to write, and publish?
In the early days writing was therapeutic for me, a way to deal with life’s hiccups. Publishing was taking a leap of faith in my abilities as a creative being.

It really is a leap, I agree. Isn't it thrilling to have done so?
Tell me more about your writing: What was your first published work?
I wrote a book called, “Susan’s Brain – A parable for the human mind.” It was a series of emails that I sent to family and friends, about life in general, getting older, being a woman, and being a single mom. Most of the emails had a comedic twist to them. The recipients responded quite favourably and some suggested that I put the emails into a book format. So I did. I printed 10 copies of it and gifted them to my family.

What is your favorite way to story build and brainstorm?
I write an idea down on whatever I can get my hands on first. Then I take it to my lap top and build it there. I also research a lot, so that when I incorporate the idea into a storyline it is accurate. When I am creating or brainstorming there are certain foods that help the process; pepperettes, Pepsi, plain ruffled chips and French onion dip.

How do you create your characters?
This might sound strange, but most characters find me. They pop their heads in when I am writing, and if they fit into the storyline I write them in. Some have actually bullied their way in, and because of their tenacity, I have actually given them bigger parts.

Do you have a favorite project so far? What makes it so?
My favorite project so far is The Whipple Wash Chronicles. It encompasses everything I am as a visionary and creative artist. To create a world that is visually appealing to readers, and introduce them to a cast of characters that they connect with, is unexplainable. It is also the longest singular project I have every worked on. 

What is The Whipple Wash Chronicles about?
The story is an epic adventure of good versus evil. The first book, The Valley Time Forgot, is about a race of people, Elfkins, who live in a forest, that is located in valley that is surrounded by mountain ranges. They think that they are the only ones who survived a catastrophic event that killed everyone else on their planet. One day a little guy named Jasper, who is no bigger than the size of a man's hand appears on the scene and the Elfkins realize that they are not the only ones who survived.

What was the best feedback you've ever gotten from a reader?
I was contacted on Facebook by a reader who told me that she hated me. When I asked why, she said it was because I left The Valley Time Forgot on a cliff hanger. She couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Jasper, one of the main characters. She asked if I would tell her. Of course I said no. Actually that has happened several times. Readers really connected with Jasper and have a vested interest in his wellbeing.

What's next on your agenda? What can we look forward to in the coming year?
I am working on the third installment of the series, which I hope to have out by the end of the year. I am also designing a board game around the series, which hopefully will be released at the same time as the book launch for The Long Road Home.

What do you think is your driving force behind your writing? What keeps you going?
I have been told my whole life that I am odd. It was always presented to me as being a negative aspect of my personality rather than a positive one. I write, I create, because it is an integral part of my being, I don’t know how to be anything else nor do I know how to shut it off. I keep going, because I have met a community of like mind thinkers that think my oddity is normal. And, it helps that I have a bevy of readers who are biting at the bit for me to finish the next book in the series.

The mother of all questions: Tell us about a favorite book?
I don’t really have a favorite book. I turn to reading to quench an emotional need or a desire to escape reality. I suppose then that the book I am reading,, at any given time, is my favorite book. There are books however that I return to periodically, John Wyndham – The Chrysalids, J K Rowling – Harry Potter, JRR Tolkien – The Hobbit, and William Goldman’s abridgement of The Princess Bride, for reasons that I can’t explain.

Anything else you'd like our adoring masses to know?
I would love to hear back from your readers. They can contact me through the following sources
If your readers are interested in purchasing The Whipple Wash Chronicles they can do so here on Amazon.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

You are absolutely welcome, S.D. Thank you for talking with me and sharing. I'm glad you're getting fulfillment and enjoying your journey as an author.

And you, my lovely Readers, thank you so much for stopping in and meeting S.D. with me! Be sure to check out The Whipple Wash Chronicles on Amazon.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Splash Blog Tour!

Make your Summer sizzle with these hot reads from fresh new authors!

Welcome, my Darling Readers, to the Summer Splash Blog Tour.
Over the next couple months, I will be joined by new friends and fellow authors, both here and across the web. I'll be interviewing everyone, and they'll be interviewing me, and we'll be telling you all about our works.
I've been getting to know these wonderful people, and they have a wide variety of books for you all to enjoy.

Tune in next Monday to meet S.D. Ferrell, author of the WhippleWash Chronicles. In the meantime, get a sneak peak and say hi to everyone on the tour:

S.D. Ferrell
Kristan Cannon
Ashley Nestler
Catherine Banks
C. A. King
D.R. Perry
Leslie Conzatti

There will also be a surprise guest in mid August, so stay tuned for that!

Much appreciation for C.A. King for orchestrating this, and to all the participating authors for sharing with me, and asking interesting questions in return.

Stay tuned Lovelies!