Cover Reveal: After the Storm by Marie Landry

I’m happy to announce that my good friend and indie author Marie Landry has just revealed the cover of her new book!

You may recall that I’ve worked on most of Marie’s other novels such as Blue Sky DaysThe Game Changer, and The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. This is the much anticipated  companion novel to Waiting for the Storm!

I am one of the lucky few who will be getting an advance copy, and I can hardly wait to read it!

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For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Cover Reveal

I know I haven’t been on in a couple months due to work, illness, editing, and other obligations. I have been writing reviews, but I have to type them up yet! In the meantime, here is the cover for a novella I did some developmental editing on:

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You may recall that I’ve worked on most of Marie Landry’s other novels such as Blue Sky Days, The Game Changer, and Waiting for the Storm. This novella is her latest works and will be coming out near Christmas time which really is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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The Game Changer Cover Reveal

I am extremely excited to be part of the cover reveal for Marie Landy’s second book! Most of you already know I was an editor for Marie’s first novel, Blue Sky Days (review,  interview, buy link), and I’m happy to say I will also be involved with this one as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read this book?

Melody Cartwright has never had a problem with change, but for the first time in her life the changes are beyond her control—she suddenly has a niece she never knew, but has to prove herself to; her best friend is making huge life changes of her own; and she has to deal with her ex and his crazy new girlfriend who has stalker tendencies.

When Melody meets confident, sexy Julian, she’s not interested in a relationship. He tells her it’s possible for a man and a woman to just be friends, and despite his ultra-charming ways there’s something about him that makes Melody believe he could be right.

During a time of change and turmoil, it doesn’t take long for Julian to become everything Melody never knew she needed in her life. But is it possible for them to remain ‘just friends’ or will Melody be a game changer for Julian the playboy?

If you are interested in reviewing the novel once it is released later this fall, be sure to check out Marie’s blog here. And if you haven’t already read Blue Sky Days, be sure to check out this awesome celebration sale!

 Previous Posts: Deity CoverMarie Landry InterviewBlue Sky Days

Writerly Questions with Margaret Lesh

Summer has gone and the fall has arrived, making it time to start thinking about what to read for school, for book clubs, or just to while away the evening while relaxing with a nice cuppa tea. To help you prepare your autumn TBR list,  I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books. So be sure to check out Monday posts, both past and present! 

To kick off the new school year, I’ve chosen the author of a contemporary young adult novel. Margaret Lesh is here to chat about her upcoming book Normalish. It is being published by Euterpe on October the 5th, 2012. You can check out her website, tweet her, or find her on facebook.

 

Margaret Lesh lives in Southern California with her creative genius husband, their son, and a very shaggy dog. She writes middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction as well as the site blog and children’s stories for StoryRhyme.com. When not writing, she’s thinking improbable thoughts and trying to remember awful jokes. She spends too much time on the internet and makes her living as a freelance court reporter listening to other people tell their stories. 

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
A witty, insightful teen copes with high school, her sister’s breakdown, and heartbreak while searching for normal in this bittersweet coming-of-age story.

Regular high school life then! *L0L* How long did it take you to write this book?
About two months, but then I spent one year working on revisions with a literary agent. I sent her four pretty extensive revisions. That took a year’s time. So all told, I’d say seven months of writing over the period of a year and a half.

How many drafts did you go through?
Six with Normalish. (Not so many with my other books, but that was my first.)

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
If I had to choose, it would be afternoon, but I have no set writing schedule.

Where is your favorite place to write?
In the corner of the living room, I have a small red desk I bought for $20 at IKEA. I often write with the television on in the background. (I’m pretty good at tuning stuff out.)

Oooh, a red desk would be cute! What is on it, a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Laptop!

What do you drink or eat while you write?
Crunchy things like pretzels, potato chips, or a bowl of cheese crackers.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
Not usually. But during breaks I’ll listen to something on Youtube, current or classic rock.

What do you wear when you write?
Comfy clothes. Usually a T-shirt and worn jeans.

 Do you have any other writing rituals?
No rituals. Just write, and screw around on the Internet too much.

The Internet is definitely addictive… How do you plot? Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
I’m a pantser and write chapter by chapter. Usually I have an idea how the story begins and ends. It’s the middle I’m not so sure of.

How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
It’s just what feels right for the story. Personally, I love first person, but I also write third. Almost all of the short stories I’ve written have been in third; my novels have all been in first.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Put on my thinking cap. Sometimes I’ll change them down the road if I notice I have two names that are too similar. My biggest concern is a name that sounds weird that will stop readers in their tracks. (As a reader, names are very important to me.)

I do rather dislike when characters names are too much alike *shakes head* Who is the first person to read your manuscript?
Usually my poor long-suffering husband (who is very patient and is not afraid to give me criticism.).

What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
After I read the email to my husband and son, I called a friend. She’s also a writer, and we were discussing my book over dinner that night. Then I called my mom.

If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
Emma Stone as Stacy York or Mae Whitman.

What is the first book you remember reading?
Grimms’ Fairy Tales with the gorgeous illustrations.

I can imagine that book would have been rather awe-inspiring. What book is on your nightstand right now?
The mini version of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Really good advice on being a better person.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Not so much a guilty pleasure as I have my comfort books that I’ve re-read, like Pride & Prejudice, The Hobbit, or Bridget Jones’s Diary. I also read Martha Stewart Living when I’m looking for fantasy.

I adore Pride and Prejudice! How do you organize your library/book collection?
Organize? Hahaha. As many books that can fit on the shelves do. The others are scattered here and there throughout the house. (Not counting the ebooks.)

Did you always want to be a writer?
It’s something I’d thought about and had in the back of my mind for many years but didn’t take seriously until about four years ago.

Well, we’re glad you finally did. If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were sitting with their friends at Oxford having one of their deep philosophical discussions.

 That would be interesting to take part, or even just eavesdrop on. If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Hmm, something I’ve never really thought about, but I really like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. She’s smart, sophisticated, funny, independent, and she ends up with Mr. Darcy. (Swoons.)

I’m with you there! What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Chocolate. And gin.

Mmm, chocolate… What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
Try not to be self-conscious with your writing; be true to your characters and story. And keep writing.

What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I have monkey toes.

 Previous Interviews:  Lauren Hunter InterviewSharon Ledwith InterviewEmma Lane Interview

Writerly Questions with Sharon DeVita

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

It is the last week of summer, how could the season have flown by so fast! It’s a mystery… just like Sharon DeVita’s comedic tale, The Ditzy Chix. The book is being released in September so keep an eye out at Terpsichore, or check out Sharon’s website here

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
The Ditzy Chix is a comedic mystery about a safe, sane college professor who goes home after her mother is injured in a break-in. Determined to stay out of whatever craziness her mom and eccentric aunt have gotten themselves into this time, Brenda learns that sometimes safe and sane need to take a back-seat to actually living a life, rather than just programming your life.

Not quite one sentence, but that’s all right since the story sounds interesting *grin* How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me eight months to write this book, an unheard of amount of time, but I was dealing with an unforeseen medical issue that truly put me behind.

Illness always appears at the worst times, though it shows your perseverance to keep on writing! How many drafts do you go through?
Drafts? Guess that depends on your definition of draft. I write my book in one shot, beginning to end. However, anything I write today, first thing tomorrow gets edited, so it’s good to go once I’m done with the edits. And I can sometimes re-write a scene 40 times before I’m happy with it, but I don’t go on until I’m happy with what I’ve got. Even if that means re-writing the same scene 50 times until it’s right. Good writing IS rewriting. And yeah, I’ve been called a perfectionist more than once.

I tend to be the same way, a bit of a perfectionist *shakes head at self* When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
I am NOT a morning person, so my day starts a little later, around 9, and I work straight through until 5 or 6. Every day, 5 days a week.

Where is your favorite place to write?
My office, with my wall to wall bookcases, my 28 in HD screen, my MAC, my desk, and of course my trusty dog, Murphy.

Sounds like you have everything a writer needs. I guess that already answers the next questions of typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper…
Each night when I’m done for the day, I lie in bed and write out my next two scenes for the next day. I do that in longhand with a clipboard and pen. In the morning, it gets transcribed into my computer when I’m done editing and ready to move forward in the story.

There is just something about writing a story out by hand that appeals. Do you ever drink or eat while you write?
I rarely eat at my desk. I’m not and never have been a snacker. And I don’t eat sweets or chocolate ever -I’m allergic to chocolate. But, I drink Caffeine-free Coke all day.

No chocolate? *faints* Sadly, I am a snacker who is addicted to practically anything chocolate.  Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
No. Never. I can’t write if there’s music on, it’s too distracting. But, the TV can be blasting and it doesn’t bother me a bit.

It is easier to tune out talking than it is a good song, I guess! What do you wear when you write?
Pajamas-always. I have to be comfortable. And I hate being cold. I live in Arizona now so it’s always warm, but I still write in thick socks and flannel pajamas. Every day. And yes, I answer the door and take the dog out in my jams.

 Now THAT is what I call a work wardrobe! I only wish I could wear jammies to the office *L0L* Do you have any other writing rituals?
Thankfully, we have an answering machine because I hate talking on the phone when I’m writing. It’s too disruptive. And I’m usually not too polite when someone interrupts me.

I can’t say a I’d blame you! I’m sure you have everyone trained by now not to call during your work hours *grin* Speaking of your work, how do you plot? Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
Oh Lord, I always flunk this question. When I start a book, I know two things: the title and the ending. That’s it. And no, I don’t write out detailed outlines or summaries or synopsis, I write from the top of my head, which has worked for 35 books and counting. I’m a firm believer if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
POV is always determined by what’s going to happen in the scene and who’s in it, and who’s point of view is most important.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
My characters’ names must fit that character. I can’t explain it, it’s something so instinctive to me after 30 years of doing this that I don’t even think about it that much anymore.

Lucky! I’ve heard that some authors always struggle with finding the right character names… And why don’t you now name the first person to read your manuscript?
My husband. Always. But, then, after him I always have one or two other first readers.

What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
I cried. It had taken me 19 years to get published, and I refused to give up. I knew in my heart I was a writer ‑I’d always known- the hard part was convincing others. But, I was first published in non-fiction and had no intention of ever writing fiction.

Hmmm, well that seems to have changed a little! If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
I’d love to see Shirley MacLaine and Diane Keaton as The Ditzy Chix, and for Brenda, the college professor daughter, I think Sandra Bullock would be a perfect fit!

 Three wonderful actresses; that is one book-to-film I wouldn’t want to miss! Moving on to your reading habits,  what is the first book you remember reading?
For Time and All Eternity-it was about a Mormon settlement and a love story. It made me cry and I was determined I’d never write a book that had an unhappy ending. I was ten years old and have kept that promise to myself.

What book is on your nightstand right now?
Two of Nora Robert’s new ones: Witness and The Last Boyfriend, and James Patterson’s Guilty Wives.

 I’m definitely a Nora Robert’s fan, too. Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
When I’m desperate and can’t find anything ‘good’ to read, I go back to my old J.D. Robb in Death series.

 How do you organize your library/book collection?
Well, I have over 6,000 books in my personal library. My non-fiction is organized like a library so research is easier. My fiction is arranged by genre. But, ask me for a book and I can tell you exactly where to find it in my personal library. (I’m a bit of an organizational freak!)

 Too be surrounded by that many books would definitely be a dream come true! We touched on this a bit earlier, but did you always want to be a writer?
Always. Except when I was ten. I wanted to be either the Queen of England or Heavyweight Champ. Since I’m 100% Irish, the Queen gig was clearly out of the question, and as for heavyweight champ, well, hell, I’m still hoping.

 I think I’d rather be Irish just because the accent is so lovely *grin* If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
None. I’ve written all the books I’ve ever truly wanted.

If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
Margaret Mitchell, of Gone With The Wind. I’d love to know how her vision of the book before she wrote it compared with the book after she wrote it.

If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
I’d be any old, cranky, cantankerous character from any of my books. I love creating old, cranky, cantankerous “character’s”.

I have to admit, I love it when there are elderly eccentrics in novels *laughs* What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Time. And Peace and Quiet.

What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
Don’t EVER give up.

What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I was an Adjunct Professor of Lit. Com. for over 10 years. I loved teaching. Loved it. And would do it again in a heartbeat. For free!

And I type 183 W.P.M.

 Previous Interviews:  Lauren Hunter InterviewSharon Ledwith InterviewEmma Lane Interview

Writerly Questions with Paul Stansfield

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

Today I have Paul Stansfield to talk about his mystery/suspense novels Dead Reckoning and Kaishaku. His first e-book hit the shelves on February 17th and is published by the Melpomene Imprint, while Paul’s second book Kaishaku is coming out on August 24th with Thalia.  

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
(I won’t cheat and just put down my tagline.)  Dustin Dempster’s community service has something he didn’t bargain for—amateur counseling sessions with a bizarre kind of killer.

Hmmm, that’s intriguing already! How long did it take you to write this book?
If memory serves, a couple of weeks.  Which might sound somewhat impressively fast, but to be fair, it’s a short story, and only about 10,000 words.

I was about to say that was quite quick *L0L* How many drafts do you go through?
Two on my own, before submission.  I wrote it out in rough draft, and made appropriate changes as I typed it into my computer.  And then another two with my editor (Elizabeth Hinds) once it was accepted by Musa.

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
I’m not a morning person at all, so I’d say late afternoon or evening.

In my opinion, morning shouldn’t begin until at least 10am *wince* Where is your favorite place to write?
When I’m at home, at my desk in my bedroom.  However, with my job (field archaeologist) I’m on the road usually 8-10 months out of every year, so I’m forced to write in whatever hotel they’ve put us up in.  Fortunately almost all hotels have desks or tables in their rooms, so I use those.

I used to want to be an archaeologist!  Then someone told me I might uncover dead people during a dig and it lost a bit of its appeal…  So should archaeologists find you a zillion years from now, will it be with a typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
It wasn’t just a plot contrivance that my first e-book, “Dead Reckoning”, dealt with Luddites.  I have definite Luddite tendencies myself.  I can only write using pen and paper, then I have to type it into the computer at the end. It is extremely inefficient, but I can’t even fathom just creating the first draft directly into a computer.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t use a typewriter again, with its lack of memory and my terrible typing skills. 

I tried to type up an essay on my mum’s typewriter, and that was more than enough for me! What do you drink or eat while you write?
Nothing.  It would be too distracting.  Plus, with my giraffe-on-Thorazine-like clumsiness, I’d probably end up spilling something on my manuscript, and possibly ruining it.

I think I know the answer to this already from the previous question, but do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
No,  I’m lazy and unproductive enough without more distractions.

What do you wear when you write?
A rubber zebra suit with detachable hooves.  Just kidding—a friend (really) told me she saw this in an, ahem, alternative sexuality catalogue, and I’ve always remembered it as being delightfully absurd.  Real boring answer—whatever I happen to be wearing that day.  Probably jeans and a t-shirt.

Do you have any other writing rituals?
For the first and last sentences of every story, I write them out using my own blood as ink.  Okay, I’ve gotten the jokes all out of my system now.  No, I don’t have any rituals.

If I had to write so much as a word in blood, I’d never write again *shudder* How do you plot: Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
“Dead Reckoning” was the first story that I used a detailed outline, roughly chapter by chapter, because I kept getting confused about which character was doing what at a particular time.  Generally I’m not that organized.  Usually it’s plot point sentences, lines of dialogue, and other notes written on a sheet or two of paper, and I just cross them off as I write them -“Kaishaku” was written like this.

 How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
No real plan—just what seems correct while I’m writing.  The main character(s) get regular POV’s, of course, but secondary characters get a POV when I feel I have something to say from someone’s else viewpoint.  Sometimes I intentionally never have a particular character’s POV, if I think it’s more interesting that the reader not know for sure what that individual is thinking and what motivates them, especially if they’re some very evil or otherworldly character.

The answer to this next question always fascinates me no matter how many times I ask it. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually they’re names I’ve heard that amuse me.  I’ve consulted baby name books, and sometimes phone books of whatever town I’m in.  Often athlete’s names, as I’m a major sports fan.  After hearing about Tony Twist’s lawsuit against Todd MacFarlane, though, I’m careful to switch the names up, i.e., I’ll use Player A’s first name and Player B’s last name.  Sometimes I’m guilty of using too-weird names, which I guess is kind of hacky, so I have to guard against that.

I never thought to use a phone book, that’s actually kind of brilliant. No need to struggle finding the perfect name, just close your eyes and pick a page! And speaking of picking the perfect person, who is the first to read your manuscript?
Generally the editor of whatever magazine or publisher I’ve submitted to.  I know this is discouraged—that writers are always told to have friends and family read your stuff first, and then you revise it several times before you submit it, but I find this counterproductive.  I’ve sent or given stories to friends many times, but I almost never get useful feedback.  Either they don’t have the time, or maybe they only asked for a copy to be polite, or they do read it, but don’t feel comfortable criticizing it to me.

If it works for you, that’s all that matters! What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
It was a while ago, but I recall being very happy and relieved, of course.  I’m sure I told family and friends soon after.  In an odd way, it made my hunger to be published worse.  Like eating one potato chip, I suppose—I just wanted more.

 If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
It may sound strange, but I’d like to see someone I don’t know (who’s also a competent actor/actress).  For some movies, especially thrillers/horror/suspense like my books are, I find a cast of unknown actors works better—it seems more believable and realistic than if it’s, say, a star like Tom Cruise or Hillary Swank.

 What is the first book you remember reading?
Tough to recall, so I’ll name a few.  I loved the Richard Scarry books, Dr. Seuss, Ranger Rick magazine, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I think I still have that Caterpillar book somewhere… What book is on your nightstand right now?
Just finished the annotated version of “The Hobbit.”  Before that, a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Not really—I have very little shame.  I guess the closest I come is feeling slightly embarrassed for reading The Baseball Encyclopedia cover to cover, or regular encyclopedias nearly so as a kid.

I tried to read the dictionary once -it didn’t go well.  How do you organize your library/book collection?
I don’t, alas.  Which is a real *censor* when I want to find one particular book, since it means going through lots of shelves (often double-stacked), checking piles on furniture, etc.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Pretty much.  I started writing ridiculous Lego-inspired stories as a small child, and kept it up from there.  As an adult I got slightly more disciplined and began writing more, and submitting.

Oooh, Lego… If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Probably “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris.  Great characters, great plot, graphic realism.  Disturbing as hell yet still oddly accessible.  Plus it’s one of the rare books that had a faithful and equally awesome movie adaptation.  And to be practical and greedy, it was a huge best seller, got near universal acclaim, and made Harris’s career.

I didn’t read the book as the movie scared me enough! …but I liked it anyways *grin* If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
Probably Harper Lee.  I find it fascinating that she was such a one hit wonder.  That she wrote a hugely successful and respected book, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and then nothing else (at least nothing she had published).  I’d like to hear what she wrote or tried to write after that, and why she didn’t submit them.  Plus I’m sure there are stories about the “In Cold Blood” events and book, and about Truman Capote, that weren’t covered in the recent movies.  And unlike a lot of other authors I admire, she doesn’t seem to give interviews much.

 If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Sauron from “The Lord of the Rings.”  He had quite an eventful existence—he was a god-like being that chose evil, was another’s servant for a long time, then became his own “man.”  He befriended/tricked/corrupted all the peoples in his domain, and came close to (his) world domination several times.  For thousands of years he was the major being in Middle Earth—defeated yet never completely vanquished until the end of “The Lord of the Rings.”  In short, I think it would be fun to be the bad guy, and ol’ Sauron was one of the baddest in literature.  And with that I guess my “cool guy, not nerdy at all” cover is completely blown.

Lord of the Rings fans are considered “cool” nowadays, so I think you’re safe. *wink* What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
Whatever motivates them to write more/better.  So a gift of time (patiently allowing them to write), space, encouragement (if they’re feeling down), or criticism (if they’re being too arrogant).  Or, on a practical level, a better computer,  the latest edition of “The Writer’s Market,” or a reliable pen if they’re old-fashioned like me.

 What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
It’s kind of cliché, but never give up.  Keep writing, and submitting.  If a magazine or publisher rejects your story, send it to another, or send that first one another story, until you’ve exhausted every one (which is near impossible, I think.)  To paraphrase the lottery motto “You have to play to win,” you have to submit to get published, to sell books, to write full time, to get rich, etc.  And even if you never reached your allotted goals, at least you didn’t sit around and idly dream, you got off your butt and made an attempt.  Plus, it’s surely time better spent than, say, watching some inane reality TV show or something.

Unless there is a reality show about a famous/popular writer’s life, I think I shall pass on those… So other than a dislike for reality TV, what is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
My favorite Halloween costume was a skeleton in first grade.  My mom cut out “bones” using a sheet, and sewed them onto a pair of dyed-black pajamas.  Topped off with a sweet mask—which I’m told I wore frequently before and after October 31st.  Perhaps it’s not surprising that I enjoy exhuming graves for work so much.

 Previous Interviews:  Lauren Hunter InterviewSharon Ledwith InterviewEmma Lane Interview

Writerly Questions with Dave Hardy

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

There are only three more weeks of summer, but that just means there is still time to have our fantasy vacation, and take along a good book.  Maybe even get a little crazy with Dave Hardy’s Crazy Greta

 

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
A Sword & Sorcery adventure set in 16th century Netherlandish art by Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch.

 How long did it take you to write this book?
I started in late 2008. I completed the first draft in 2010. I didn’t really finish up the draft I submitted until 2011. I had a few other projects I was working on, so I’d work in fits an starts. I’m like that, easily distracted.

You and me both! How many drafts do you go through?
I never keep count. I just work through fixing little typos and grammar problems, while noting larger issues. Then I work through those while noting any more I find. I just keep going until I don’t see any more problems.

When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
I’m a weekend writer. I work 8 to 5, Monday to Friday, so I might work a bit on work evenings, but I really dig in on the weekends. I start losing steam the more the day wears on though.

That’s to be expected with a day job, unfortunately. Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a desk in the front room of the house. Most of my books are right at hand, along with notes and a place to put my cup of coffee or cold drink.

What do you drink or eat while you write?
In the morning it’s coffee, one cup after another, with cream and sugar. In the afternoons and evenings, it’s likely to be water. I’ve cut way back on sodas. I used to knock back Coke and Mountain Dew like it was going out of style. I also found my pants were getting very tight. Nowadays I go easy on the sugary drinks, except coffee.

Yeah, it is hard to get down a coffee without plenty of sugar *wince* Typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
I used to write in pencil on paper, but now it’s my computer. It saves a lot of time. Sometimes I’ll still work with pencil and paper in comfortable chair if I need to work through an idea.

 There is just something about putting it down on paper that helps the process along. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
It depends. For less intense writing I’ll listen to music. Right now I’m listening to the Skillet Lickers an Old Timey band from Georgia that recorded back in the 1920s. When I’m writing Sword & Sorcery I’ll listen to Bifrǿst, a German post-Punk/Industrial/Gothic music group my friend Cornelius Kappabani fronted.

I haven’t even heard of those groups! What do you wear when you write?
Jeans and a t-shirt.

Do you have any other writing rituals?
Does procrastination count?

If only it did… How do you plot? Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
I use loose outlines, modifying as I go. For novels I use either a three or four-act structure with six or nine chapters in each act. I have a pretty good idea of where each chapter is to start and end, but I’m flexible as to how to get there.

I don’t think I ever thought about a book being like a play, with acts and scenes; I like that analogy. How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
I prefer third person. I tend to splash my settings around, so I often need a scene from a secondary character’s view. In Crazy Greta I stayed close to her. I’ve written a few first-person stories, but with those you need to have it under control, since everything needs to be in that individual’s view.

 How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m pretty arbitrary. I am less likely to consider finding the perfect name that represents that character’s personality and relationship to the protagonist than to think: hey can I write this joker’s name a half-hundred times without misspelling it.

That is probably a pretty good idea that most of us wouldn’t think of until we realize we hated the character’s name because typing it was a pain *LOL* Who is the first person to read your manuscript?
Matt Teel, the editor at Urania.

Matt is pretty awesome! What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
I called my wife. I was at work, so I wasn’t going to wait until I got home to tell her.

I don’t blame you, news like that needs to be shared immediately *grin* If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
Paula Malcomson, she played Trixie in Deadwood. I was taken with her mix of rage and concern for others, which is what I tried to give Greta. I loved her look, beautiful, yet strained, in Deadwood so in a lot of ways she’s how I imagiend Greta.

 What is the first book you remember reading?
The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss.

Gotta love Dr Seuss, there is just something so appealing about his stories to kids… and the young at heart.  What book is on your nightstand right now?
Hornblower and the Atropos. Also Banners of the King, by Michael Ross, about the revolt of the Vendée in 1793.

Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
I feel guilt about nothing! I liked The Legion of Space, and I’m proud of it!

 How do you organize your library/book collection?
Fiction is organized by author’s last name, that is the ones I have room on a shelf for. Non-fiction is organized by subject, myths & legends, history, exploration, true-crime, literary history, etc.

That’s quite a variety of genres, it’s rather impressive. Did you always want to be a writer?
When I was a kid I’d make up stories and write them, then I’d act them out with Legos or toy soldiers. Later D&D was how I’d try to tell a story. Then I thought, why not try writing one? It was a long time before I worked up the will to write & finish.

I used to love playing with lego, but generally played out stories with my dolls instead.  If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
That’s a tough one, as I think a lot about the writers that influence me and the genres they created. Maybe it would be King Solomon’s Mines, by H. Rider Haggard. Or perhaps Red Harvest (Dashiell Hammett), A Princess of Mars (Edgar Rice Burroughs), or Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy). There’s a lot I could wish for!

If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
Robert E. Howard, I’d let him talk about anything he wanted & I’d listen damn careful, because I wish I had a tenth of his talent and skill.

Sounds like quite a role model. If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Once I might have said Conan, or Solomon Kane, or the Continental Op. These days I think I might want to be Doug Hoover from The Hereafter Gang by Neal Barrett Jr. (a fantastic writer of tremendous imagination). In the end Doug got it all figured out, what more could you want?

What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
A good review. Maybe a lot of quiet time.

 What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
Just write, keep moving forward, damn all doubts and obstacles, just keep writing.

Doubt really does seem to be quite an obstacle with as-yet-unpublished authors. What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
I briefly lived in Iran, in an American community outside of Isfahan, back in the days of the shah when the US was selling him lots of advanced military equipment. I was in fifth grade and my father worked for the US Navy and that’s where his job took him.

 Previous Interviews: Cordelia DinsmoreDevin HodginsKaitlin BevisMartin Bodenham