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Author Interview: ‘Genex of Halcyon’ by Joshua Stelling

About the Book:

In this near-future utopia, in Halcyon all are free. People with wings fly alongside skyline railcars, between the towers. They are more than what we’ve known as human, the next stage of our evolution. Amid the psychic computers and genetic freaks, competitive laser sports and mindless bots, runs a love triangle stronger than death itself. Over these three nights in 2051, Harmony and Azad must find their way through misfits and prophets, blood and tears, to new horizons. Their fate, in the time of climate change, in the afterglow of the rise of machines, is entwined with the world.

What people are saying:

“Something special and unique in its genre. Worth reading the first time and even worth revisiting to explore its complex, fresh ideas.” “In the dystopian genre, this can be a difficult line to walk, but Stelling does it masterfully.” “[The] writing in this book is beautiful.” — Steph Huddleston, The Independent Book Review

“Atmospheric and lyrical, telling the story like it took place in a dream without slowing the pace or dulling the storyline.” — Jennia Ahava, Blogger

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I wrote my first story in early grade school, published by the in-school publisher, spiral-bound like a boss.  It was about a giant frog who found a little boy and kept him as a pet. Well, he wanted to anyway, but it didn’t work out too well. I wanted to be a writer before that, though. Sometime around when I first heard Shel Silverstein’s poetry, I think. I remember this one about a kid saving the universe playing at the arcade.  Nothing was ever the same after that.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

My laptop follows me everywhere. It’s a Lenovo Yoga 730, and well recommended for the task. I prefer Word, though I’ve been wanting to experiment with Scrivener as well. Otherwise, you know it most often happens on the couch in the living room, jamming some good tunes on bluetooth. I’d love to say I take it into the mountains, and write while sitting on a cliff and watching the sun go down, but that’s just not how it works, most days. We’ve recently remodeled a reading room, so maybe I’ll start doing it there soon. Honestly, it’s like meditation though, in that it’s a headspace that matters, not a physical one.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I tend to think of any creative act as a process of synthesis. Whether we know them or not, our influences always shape our output. Genex of Halcyon is something of a cross between Brave New World and Hamlet. Toss in a bit of The Island of Dr Moreau for flavoring, roll it around with elements of existential philosophy and a pinch of chaos theory, and eventually what comes out of that mental oven looks completely unique, unlike any particular one of it’s ingredients. Oh and Google. I’m constantly researching while I write, this being hard sci-fi, full of genetic experimentation, a unified field theory of physics, laser sports and robots that know all about you, after all.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Learning to outline properly has been one of the longest, hardest lessons of my writing journey, but also one of the most essential. I usually know titles, names and endings first, but that’s not to say they don’t change as a story develops. Outlines are not to be cages, but scaffolding is so very necessary if you’re trying to sculpt something larger than yourself.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write mostly hard sci-fi, but tend toward the poetic, literate, adult or even erotic side of that. Some of my short fiction is more modern day, and I certainly don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into any small box. My next novel-length work is sci-fi/fantasy, with a more pulp adventure feel.  I will go where my imagination leads.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

My dream cast is impossible, being an amalgamation of actors and actresses of different ages, at different times, but I’ve envisioned the cast of Genex of Halcyon as including Chyler Leigh, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Emily Browning, David Boreanaz, my girlfriend’s dad, Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, Mackenzie Foy and Marion Cotillard, among others, with costumes by Grimes and direction by Stanley Kubrick.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Thoreau, Wells, Burgess, Huxley, Stephensen, Gaiman, LeGuin, Fitzgerald and Neruda come to mind immediately. In nonfiction I’m a fan of Gleick, Sagan, Gibran, and anything that opens your eyes to the world outside of yourself. Lately I’ve been reading Marcus Aurelius.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I just finished “Beneath the Sugar Sky” by Seanan Mcguire. Honestly not blown away, but I don’t like to start something and not finish it. It wasn’t all bad, for sure, but not worth the hype, to me. I’ve also been dipping in and out of Gaiman’s “Fragile Things,” and enjoying that one well enough. I finished “Cycles of Time” by Roger Penrose last month, and you can find a short review I wrote up on my blog. I’m halfway through the audio book for King’s “Carrie” as well, and that’s pretty awesome.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

It’s a hard question, no doubt, without a fast answer. This time I think I’m going with Walden. Not that it’s the most enjoyable read of all time, but rather it was one of the most affective books in my life. Thoreau changed my outlook on everything, from nature to society to economics, with that book, when I was around 20. Everyone should read it.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Take the time. If you’re a writer, then write. Revise. Don’t be afraid of a rough draft that’s awful, but in the end don’t settle for anything less than your best work. Don’t write for a paycheck. Write for the story, for the characters, for everything you can breathe to life. This world desperately needs storytellers, and good ones. Don’t just add words to the pile. No, create something that really matters to you. I like to say that the hole you see in the world is exactly the space where you alone belong. Fill it. My dad always used to say, “Whatever you do in life, just don’t be boring.”

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit of a social media slut these days. Haha. But the links are many. Find me on Facebook under Arch & Gravity Publishing, Joshua Stelling, and Quin the Game. Find me on Twitter @StellingJoshua. Instagram is the same, with both Arch & Gravity and my own page. My reviews blog, at JoshuaStelling.com, is updated semi-weekly with movie, book and music reviews, and editorials of anything I feel like writing.  rchandGravity.com is the best portal for learning about the book, which is on sale all month long for $1.99 in ebook, across the web. We’re even available internationally now! So wherever you are, grab a copy and explore some shockingly different, modern science fiction. Midwest Book Review recently called Genex of Halcyon “A soaring vision of the near future.”  Indies Today called it “A sublime sci-fi gem.” Thanks!

Website page links: www.joshuastelling.comwww.archandgravity.com and www.quinthegame.com

Facebook page links: www.facebook.com/JoshuaStelling, www.facebook.com/ArcheandGravitywww.facebook.com/quinthegame and www.facebook.com/Genex-of-Halcyon

Twitter: @StellingJoshua

Instagram: www.instagram.com/joshuastelling

About the Author:

Raised in Colorado by an ex-lawyer turned philosopher and cabbie, and a reformed catholic nun, Stelling cut his teeth in middle-class suburbia, learning everything about sex, drugs and science the hard way – through books.  A poet and music lover, he spent his time running record stores around Denver, building his own craft on the side.  Now the stories in the man have become worlds, and his pages have turned into books.  Combining hard sci-fi and adult fiction with a fluent love of metaphor and poetry, his work will challenge you and leave you wanting more.  Should you meet a philosopher driving a cab, in the skies above Korea, sometime in the next fifty years, you’ll know it is another lost daydream of Joshua Stelling, like no other.

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Author Interview: ‘Discords of the Mind’ by BC. Neon

About the Books:

Discords of the Mind Vol 1: A Collection of Short Stories

A collection of short stories, written in several genres that span fiction, fantasy, vampires, crime, magic and more totaling 18 different stories. Enjoy universe after universe that never gets boring. Read about a normal cop in an otherwise exotic world, working to uncover the biggest break of his career. Or next, the adventures of a boy being thrown into the conflict between military and otherworldly being. Maybe reading about the travels of an unconventional caravan traveling the landscape to find the river east of Eden. Various stories featuring an expanded universe of magic are also contained within these covers, along with a piece on a post-apocalyptic government-ruled society. Read all this and more in Discords of The Mind Volume 1.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Discords of the Mind Vol 2: Another Collection of Short Stories

The return of Discords of The Mind, another collection of short stories that span multiple genres from magic, dreams, fantasy, fiction, vampires, crime and more, consisting of 17 total short stories. Some stories make a return in crafted sequels and enjoy even more content. Read about the magical afterlife of the universe’s greatest magician in his travel to impress even the gods! Along with even more magical tales. Another cop, years later with his super-powered partner, comes to uncover old cases, only to make the biggest breaks of their careers. Another sequel featuring a group of exploring soldiers to cross over to an alien world, or the continued adventure of escapees from a terrible regime finding themselves in a supernatural phenomenon known only as the Mystic. Vampires make their return in the mundane life of a forever teenager.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Discords of the Mind Vol 3: The Final Collection of Short Stories coming August 2020

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m a writer located in Southern Nevada. I’ve been writing since basically sophomore year of high school, where I took a creative writing class and wrote my first short story called The Girl And The Fox. After many failed attempts at full-length novels and scrapped ideas, I joined a writing club at my local university where I began writing short stories for my peers in the club. After about 4 years of writing short stories, I decided to compile them into one cover and self publish the book.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite time to write, mostly because I write every day as much as I can. Although, I have a recliner and a laptop in my home office/media center that I do most of my writing on.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Many ideas are dreams that I had that I morphed into more coherent stories. Other ideas come to my half-asleep brain before bed. I’ve also spawned ideas from music and video games, but I would say that most of my short stories were spawned from me staring at a wall until something fun popped into my head.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

A mixture of both. I’ve had stories that I fully form before even making the document for the story, while others I had a starting point and I tried to let the story guide itself to completion.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I’ve written short stories that blanket all kinds of genres, but they’re all fiction. Although my next series is going to a more traditional “Superhero” genre. What drew me to fiction was that I could make the world anything I dreamt of, it didn’t have to be real, or plausible, it could be mine.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Honestly, in my short story collections, I almost never pictured how the characters looked or sounded. Although in the story December 19, 2099, I envisioned the main character being portrayed by J.K. Simmons and another character played by B.D. Wong.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

My daily readings are mostly religious texts. I’ve read few books for leisure, which is ironic, I know, but my favorite fictional book by far was Airborne by Kenneth Oppel. Rick Riordan is also one of my favorite authors.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m currently reading The Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson. It was recommended to me by a friend and I decided to read it to “scope out” the competition for my next series, so to say, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I also plan to finish The Reckoners series and to re-read the Airborne trilogy.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Well, aside from my own books, I would say Airborne by Kenneth Oppel. I first read it in high school, and I absolutely loved the airship-themed story. Characters were compelling, and the story, I thought, was freshly original and interesting.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Where do I begin? Firstly, have realistic goals and deadlines, like weekly page quotas, novel length, when you want to finish. Even if you don’t meet them, which for first timers is common, it gives you motivation and clear, set bars to you can meet and achieve. Secondly, is to stop waiting and do it. Start somewhere, it doesn’t even have to be at the beginning; you’ll never finish if you don’t start. This is the most common roadblock I see in first time writers I know. They think “A book is a gargantuan task, I’ll never finish” or “I just don’t know where to begin”. For me, it was starting on smaller short stories I could realistically write. Over time, they became better, longer and it prepped me for starting novels and longer stories.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can find me on Facebook by searching for BC. Neon (www.facebook.com/author.bc.neon). You can find my work on Amazon and other retailers, as well as a few free pieces on Archive.org. I’m a little secretive about my personal life and I try to keep a separate business persona for my authorship, but any questions, people can ask through my Facebook Page.

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Author Interview: ‘We Are God’ by Jordan Mund

About the Book:

The Old Man, as he’s come to be known, was born during a time when Mortals and Immortals coexisted. Back then he had many Mortal friends, but that was over 400 years ago. Before they all grew old and passed away. Since then he’s been living day to day, spending his time trying to maintain the memories he has of them.

His world, in what has been dubbed the Eternal Era, is one that never changes. No one dies, but no one is born either. Eventually the Old Man takes matters into his own hands after discovering a way to reverse his immortality. Now nearing the end of his life, he sits down to write his memoirs, to tell about all those friends he loved so dearly, to explain why he did what he did and what it means for humanity’s future.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I always wanted to tell stories. As a teenager I thought I wanted to be a film director. In fact, some of my first attempts at writing, aside from a handful of awful short stories, were a handful of awful screenplays. But as I got older and continued to find inspiration in stories of the written variety the dream of being a director slowly faded and was replaced by the dream I’m currently pursuing, and will likely continue to pursue until I run out of ideas or die.

So, I started writing my first novel when I was 20. The idea of writing an entire book was quite intimidating but once I started, I found the process so wonderful I was hooked. Creating a character with only the smallest idea of who they are and watching them evolve into a fully realized person is one of my favourite experiences. It’s also extremely therapeutic to be able to explore through writing various experiences like tragedy, relationships, or any other experience, and through that exploration come out with a clearer and more developed perspective. That’s not to say that some days the actual act of sitting down and writing out the sentences that will make up the story can feel tedious and there are days when I feel like doing anything but writing. But even on those days, there is some sort of drive that forces me.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I usually write in the morning after I drop my daughter off at the school bus. I don’t know if I would say it’s my favourite – I’m not much of a morning person – but at the moment it’s the most convenient. If my daughter’s schedule didn’t require me to wake up when I do, I would probably write late at night.

I don’t have a favourite place to write though. Anywhere I can be comfortable is fine. One of these days I’d like a study or writing nook but for now it’s my living room.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Difficult to say. Everywhere and anywhere I suppose. A lot of ideas come from reading, others from news stories, others from my wildly vivid dreams. There are ideas everywhere. The trick I suppose is being able to recognize how those ideas might work in a story. A camping tent that eats all those who sleep in it might seem like a good idea in the proper story but could be a very bad idea in the wrong story. But I love getting a little sliver of an idea and exploring it exhaustively until it’s a fully developed world filled with characters and conflict. Then you have to write it all down which, admittedly, can be a bit more of a chore.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I have a vague idea usually of where my story is going. I usually have an ending in mind towards which I try to maintain aim, but I also think writers should let their stories develop naturally and allow changes in direction. Everyone is different, I’m sure, but I like the experience of not knowing exactly where I’m going and the surprise of finding out where I end up.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

The first two books I wrote, which haven’t been published, were literary fiction. The protagonist has problems in his life, he goes through some experiences and is a better person at the end, that sort of thing. But I switched genres with my newest novel, which did get published. So, the switch seemed to have paid off. My newest book, We Are God, is a dystopian/speculative fiction novel. I just had an idea that came from who-knows-where and I had to write it. I didn’t make a conscious decision to try a different genre, this new idea that popped into my head made that decision for me. But I’ve always loved dystopian novels. George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, just to name the most recognizable masters of the genre, are some of my favourite authors so it was only a matter of time before I wrote something like this.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

That’s a fun question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a fun answer. I actually have no idea. It would be important to me that the cast be very diverse, a cast that represents much more of the world than just North America or Europe. But aside from that, I don’t have much of an opinion.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I’m an avid reader. My first real love affair with a writer was Charles Dickens, specifically David Copperfield, which I know is so common amongst young men that it is a cliché. But it was a book that really opened my mind to what a writer can do with words. I thought it was incredible, like the words he was stringing together were spells instead of just sentences. But since that first major love I’ve grown into something of a polyamorist. I love a lot of Russian authors: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Bulgakov, Nabokov. My favourite fellow Canadian authors are probably the two Magarets – Atwood and Laurence. When I need a laugh, I turn to the likes of P. G. Wodehouse or Douglas Adams. I like the horror of H. P. Lovecraft, the sci-fi of H. G. Wells and Philip K. Dick, the satire of Kurt Vonnegut. Really though, favourite authors is a subject that I could write about for pages. I’ll stop here.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I usually have a few books on the go at any given time. Right now, I’m reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, The Civil War in France by Marx, and The Reincarnation of Tom by this indie author I just discovered named Aden Simpson. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s already proving to be a hilarious ride.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

This is a difficult question but if I had to choose, I would say the Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It is one of the most imaginative books I’ve ever read, and, like David Copperfield; it transformed my perspective on what an author is capable of with their writing. In it the Devil arrives in Moscow with a group of demonic characters, some of whom are hilarious, others frightening. There’s also a love story, a giant anthropomorphic cat that likes guns and vodka, a man is turned into a flying pig, and that’s just some of it. It’s an incredible book that somehow surprises me every time I read it.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write. And keep writing. But also read. A good writer is a good reader. Keep challenging yourself by reading authors who are much better than you and study them to find out what makes them better. Read authors you might not think you like and try to find out what it is about them that other readers do like. But mostly, just keep writing and rewriting, even if it’s only a few paragraphs a day. If you do that, eventually, even if it takes years, you will have a book that you’ve written and that will always be an accomplishment from which anyone can take a bit of pride.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

I’m not the most social media savvy person in the world and I don’t post often but if anyone wants to follow me they can. Here are the links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jordan.mund

Twitter: @jordanjmund

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mundjordan

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/19811708.Jordan_Mund

 

About the Author:

I was born and raised on the Canadian Prairies. I went to the University of Manitoba where I studied English and Philosophy. I’ve always loved creating stories and am excited to now have one of those stories available for others to (hopefully) enjoy. I currently live in Asia with my wife and daughter.

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Author Interview: ‘The Hanging’ by Linda Thackeray

About the Book:

Welcome to Mimosa.

Struggling to survive in the savage land of the Territory, Mimosa is beset by dangers common to the harsh realities of the Old West.

When former gunslinger turned marshal, Kris Jensen arrives in town with his band of misfits, it is up to them to defend Mimosa from greedy land barons, outlaws and Indians angered by broken treaties.

It is an unlikely place to find salvation, but that is precisely what Kris and his men discover in Mimosa.

When local cattle baron William Cahill swears revenge on Judge Evan Davis for the execution of his nephew, it sets off a deadly plan of vengeance against the judge and those he loves.

It is up to Kris and his misfits to keep Holly Davis, the beautiful editor of the Mimosa Mirror, from harm before Cahill can put a noose around her neck.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I think I penned my first story when I was ten, perhaps eleven and never stopped. I was inspired by Star Wars and developed a love of Science Fiction, Fantasy genres ever since.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

My favourite time for writing is either early morning, or late night. I have a writing desk where the ‘magic’ happens and it’s my comfort place.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Anywhere really, sometimes I just come across a random idea and let it flower from there. Great books help to inspire me, particularly in the types of stories I want to write. For instance, when I read Stephen King’s ‘It’ when I was seventeen, I came out of that experience wanting to write great characters that could really resonated with a reader.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I have an idea of where the story is going to end up, but the journey there needs refining.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I started off with science fiction genre, mostly because I loved Star Wars. Then I read great books like Dune, Foundation and 2001: A Space Odyssey and that gave me a love of world building stories that went beyond the pulp adventure of Star Wars and movie science fiction.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Well I wrote a western inspired by a television series I loved, so I’d probably cast those actors in the show.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert, Jack London, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clark.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m in the middle of reading an indie western novel for review called The Guns of the Long Riders by Douglas R Cobb.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

It by Stephen King. When I read this book for the first time, it wasn’t the horror or the story that grabbed me, it was how King depicted the Losers as characters so real by the time you got to the end of their journey, you felt like the characters losing their friends. I wanted to write characters that would touch an audience in the same way. That book more than any other taught me how vitally important it was to create vivid characters. The audience won’t care about what’s happening if they don’t care about the characters.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write for yourself and no one else. Even if you never became rich and famous, or become a best selling novelist, doing what you love will still make you soar.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Website: www.lthackeray.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Scribee31oz

Twitter: @Scribe31oz

 

About the Author:

Born in a village in Malaysia and delivered by underpaid midwife, and Ann, an irritable new mother (who wouldn’t be after 48 hours in labour?), X was named by a deranged grandmother with too much creativity for her own good. Once out of her pain-induced stupor, Ann decided to give her new daughter a proper middle name to avoid the risk of being put into a home later in life.

And so, she was called Linda.

Linda was an unremarkable child, save a few notable incidents, the discovery that a pot lid is not a substitute for Wonder Woman’s tiara (five stitches), four-year old don’t need to shave (no stitches but lots of toilet paper) and utility truck drivers are not necessarily qualified operators of their vehicles (seventy stitches).

At eight, Linda received religious enlightenment when she saw Star Wars at the Odeon Theatre and hence began her writing career.

For many years, the cages of various pets in the Thackeray household were littered with pages from Linda’s scribblings. Subjects usually ranged from whatever science fiction show was on television or at the movies. There was lots of Star Wars.

At 17, Linda moved to Sydney, Australia and was disappointed it was not occupied by Paul Hogan types with big knives and croc skin jackets but pot-bellied blokes with zinc cream and terry towel hats. Linda’s father (also known as that bloke who buys me stuff to piss mum off when she’s mad at him) settled in the town of Young, a community of 6000 people with no movie theatre.

Linda survived this period in the wilderness by raising kangaroos and writing original works but eventually got saddled down with the necessities of life and though she continued to write, work came first. Work, HBO, comic books and rent. It’s a kaleidoscope.

Even the kangaroos left out of boredom.

In 2014, Linda decided to start writing seriously again. Mostly because Australia’s strict gun laws make it very difficult to ‘go postal’ in the workplace. Moving to Woy Woy, which is Aboriginal for ‘Big Water’, she’s dipped her toes into the Indie pool and found she needs a pedicure. Her books are labours of love and championed by her friends on Facebook.

Eventually Creativia Publishers, appalled by Linda’s inability to conduct any marketing, offered to publish her books out of sheer exasperation.

Supported by two cats named Newt and Humphrey, she spends her days trying to write novels while having unclean thoughts about Michael Fassbender and Jason Statham, sometimes together.

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Author Interview: ‘Storm’s Breath’ by J.R. Ford

About the Book:

Someone who didn’t know Pavel might mistake his heroic bravery for a death wish, and there’s no better place for either than the world’s first fully immersive game. Sure enough, the competitors are intimidating, and the monsters terrifying — though neither more so than blossoming friendships with two determined swordswomen.

Spurred by pure-hearted altruism alone, Pavel joins their quest to find the Storm’s Breath: an artifact that bestows magic powers — and real-world riches — upon the first player to find it. And with a ruthless mage on their heels, he’ll find plenty of opportunities for bravery.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Excerpt:

The path twisted ahead, but I made out what was happening between the trees. The man and woman from before were standing in the middle of the path, hands raised. I caught glimpses of four others, all with swords glinting.

Paranoia vindicated. I ducked back into the cover of the forest. “They’re getting robbed! There’s four of them!” I told Farrukh, who had laid out his tarp in a clear patch.

I heard a wail and peeked out. The guy was full-on crying. His companion was trembling, though with sobs or rage, I couldn’t tell.

Not hard to see why. People were worth points. Those poor saps were moments from game over, not even half a day in.

“We should go around,” Farrukh said, folding up his tarp.

He was right. The smart thing to do would be to head uphill, circle around, and find the river again past the bandits.

The smart thing, the safe thing. Like leaving that woman in the tavern to the mercy of vultures. I had sixteen years’ experience of looking the other way.

My words came out choked. “I thought you were in it for the points. No risk, no reward.”

“I weigh my risks. There’s no loot in killing four newbies.”

If I went in there alone, I’d be butchered like a lamb. What a waste that would be. I checked quickly — still 3 viewers.

“Come on,” Farrukh said, “while they’re distracted. There’s no reason to get yourself killed.”

My scabbard rasped. Consequences be damned, me along with them. “See you.” I broke into a sprint, sword raised high.

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid and got more involved trying different styles and mediums in High School. I sought guidance from my English teachers, but they were all either disinterested or jailed.

One university summer, a job I had lined up fell through, and I decided to write a novel so I wouldn’t get bored. I turned to Brandon Sanderson’s YouTube lectures for guidance and smashed a novel out. I learned a lot from the experience, and my next novel was better, and the one after that, Storm’s Breath, good enough for me to self-publish.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I wrote most of Storm’s Breath on lunch breaks at my old software engineering job or on Monday evenings at my home desk. Being confined by work hours really spurred my productivity.

I quit that job to go traveling – that didn’t work out – but now I have more time than ever at my home desk to focus on whatever creative projects strike my fancy. Right now I’m focusing on releasing Storm’s Breath, but I’m really looking forward to being able to sink my teeth into the first draft of the final book in the trilogy.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

On a physical level, I take inspiration from pretty much everything I read, watch, or play – I always try to analyze art to figure out why I like or dislike it. Once I understand what I like and dislike about a plot, character, or trope, I have a better understanding of how I can build a story my way.

On a more abstract level, I take most of my themes and symbols straight out of my worldview. The same way I analyze art, I analyze my own feelings to try to understand what themes I most want to bake into my work.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I usually start with a vague outline and try to keep the characters “in character”. It normally takes me about half the book to figure out where their character arcs are taking them, then I reshape the plot around that.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Storm’s Breath is YA “GameLit” Fantasy, GameLit being literature which takes place in a game or a game-like world. When I first discovered the genre, I immediately recognized it as an amazing way to explore themes not often found in traditional literature but that I have experienced as an avid gamer. Storm’s Breath in particular deals with the uncertainty of forming friendships which may not last longer than the lifespan of the video game where they were formed.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I’m not sure how good Hollywood is at making people seem young. The main cast in Storm’s Breath is all 16-17 but these actors are all older than that. They’d probably be better served finding up-and-coming young talent (or even better, animating it!), but if it’s a dream cast…

  • Miles Heizer as Pavel, the protagonist, an inexperienced young man who yearns to be a hero.
  • Chloë Grace Moretz as Heather, a timid young woman determined to become strong enough to protect herself and her friends.
  • Emma Stone as Ana, a brash swordswoman who takes Pavel and Heather under her wing.
  • Farhan Akhtar as Farrukh, a pragmatic ranger hoping to score enough points to win some real-world cash.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I mostly listen to audiobooks nowadays. My favorite authors out of traditional fantasy are:

  • Glen Cook, who has the most addictive writing style I’ve ever read
  • Sebastien De Castell, for his aesthetics and themes
  • Joe Abercrombie, whose wit is like a dry razor
  • And Brandon Sanderson, partially because of his free lectures, partially because his books are rock-solid, partially because I envy his monstrous productivity

Out of the GameLit/LitRPG (Role-Playing Game Literature) space:

  • Luke Chilmenko, for his tight plots and sub-plots
  • Travis Bagwell, whose books know how to have fun
  • And I have my eye on Oliver Mayes, whose debut I loved for how well he tapped into the fantasy of becoming a big-time streamer

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

The Crafting of Chess, by Kit Falbo. It’s a LitRPG about a young man who enters an immersive game with the intention of becoming a master craftsman and earn enough real-world money to support himself and his grandfather. It really scratches the itch of watching someone work towards a goal and deal with all the hassle that comes with becoming a renowned player.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Storm’s Breath, of course. They say write what you want to read, and even after countless re-reads, there are still moments that get my blood pumping.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write because you like writing. If you don’t like it, why are you doing it?

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

I have my own website, https://authorjrford.com, but I’ll also post updates to my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorJRFord. I use my Twitter for more than just writing, but feel free to follow me: @YaBoyJayMoney.

 

About the Author:

Jacob R Ford discovered his passion for writing in high school despite dreadful English teachers and completed his first novel when he found himself surprisingly unemployed one university summer. Since then he has worked tirelessly (and sometimes tiredly) to craft a novel worth selling. With Storm’s Breath, he believes he has succeeded.

When not writing, he can be found engineering software, making music, or teaching Historical European Martial Arts.

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