Category Archives: Interview

Author Interview: Kyle Richardson

Today I am interviewing Kyle Richardson, author of the new fantasy novel, Beast Heart, first book in the Steambound trilogy. 

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DJ: Hey Kyle! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Kyle Richardson: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me. A little about myself? Let’s see … I’m a Hawaii-born author who now lives in snowy Canada, an oft-bumbling husband, a father to two little rascals, and I’m still waiting for my superpower origin story (which I’m hoping will result in a traditional power, like telekinesis, rather than something bizarre—like the ability to tickle insects, or something).

I’m a traditionally published writer of flash fiction and short fiction, have worked as an assistant editor and co-editor, and now I’m making my novel-length fiction debut with Beast Heart.

DJ: What is Beast Heart about?

Kyle: This is a question that appears so simple, yet strikes fear into the hearts of writers everywhere. Oh, the challenges of summarizing an entire story in a paragraph or two! 😀

We follow two strangers, Gabrielle and Kemple, as they navigate their youths (and, later: their teenagehood) along the fringes of Iron Bay, a city full of carriages, airships, clockwork beings, and creatures that go bump in the night.
Their two lives will inevitably intertwine, in the most explosive of ways, but neither of them knows it … yet.

DJ: What were some of your influences Beast Heart and the series? 

Kyle: I didn’t write with any specific influences in mind, though I’m sure the book owes a lot of its ideas to the various stories and films I consumed growing up. Looking at the finished product, I can definitely see a lot of Bubblegum Crisis in it (a cyberpunk Anime from the late 1980s, following a team of young women in mech-suits who fight monsters to protect the city), along with a healthy splash of American Werewolf in London. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Roy Freirich

Today I am interviewing Roy Freirich, author of the new psychological thriller novel, Deprivation. 

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DJ: Hi Roy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Roy Freirich: Thank you! I would love to say less is more and try to be enigmatic, but that probably wouldn’t be the result. I’m from suburban NY, was an absurdly pretentious self-pitying teenaged poet, studied real poetry in college and grad school and ran away to the mountains of California where I weaseled my way into writing song lyrics with/for Warner Brothers recording artist Bill LaBounty.  Moved to LA, became a lyricist with various songwriter contracts and songs recorded by some actual legendary R&B singers, but decided I needed a new wall to bang my head against and that since I saw lots of movies, I could write them. The jury’s out. One of my first efforts was written simultaneously as my first novel Winged Creatures and became the  (studio-retitled) film Fragments, featuring Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Josh Hutcherson, Guy Pearce, Walt Goggins, and lots of recognizable others to whom I am grateful. Since then, the movie business hasn’t been as straightforward for me, but it’s a safe bet I’ve failed to adapt as it became more driven by event (OK, superhero) fare and less by the kind of literary / psychological drama I write.

DJ: What is Deprivation about?

Roy: Elevator pitch?  Honestly, it feels like people have tried to pry the doors apart between floors, so here’s a short version: “A New England tourist island struck by mass insomnia.”  What’s it about thematically? The idea that dreams keep us sane, and without them, we’ll each go crazy in our unique way— as our own unresolved experiences increasingly drive us in our waking lives. It’s about mass hysteria, too, and how our individual psychology makes us vulnerable to it. And then, yes, about how we collectively blame and scapegoat and murder each other.  We are the creatures who kill us.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Deprivation

Roy: Jose Saramago, Cormac McCarthy, Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness, James Salter, John Updike, Raymond Carver, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies,  Robert Stone.  Did I mention Robert Stone? Continue reading

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Author Interview: J.T. Nicholas

Today I am interviewing J.T. Nicholas, author of the new science-fiction novel, Re-Coil.

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DJ: Hi J.T.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

J.T. Nicholas: I’m a sci-fi author (primarily, anyway) who lives in North Carolina.  I’ve wanted to be an author for pretty much as long as I can remember, but it’s a long journey, so I spent a large chunk of my career in the exciting and dazzling world of insurance data analysis.  I know, I know… it’s difficult to imagine leaving something so exciting behind for a career as mundane as authordom, but such is the road I’ve taken. I’m happily married with two Australian Shepherds who have a bigger social media following than I do (@ronin_and_gambit on Instagram) one of which is whining at me right this very moment.  I love reading (unsurprising), writing (also unsurprising), games (video and tabletop) and anime.  

DJ: What is Re-Coil about?

J.T.: I think of it as a whodunnit set against the backdrop of a gritty cyberpunk/sci-fi world where mankind has conquered death by backing up the human consciousness and stuffing it into a new body (or coil in the parlance of the book) when you die.  The main focus of the story has the protagonist trying to figure out why he and his crew disappeared on what should have been a routine salvage mission. There’s corporate greed, coverups, and a dash of existential threat thrown in for good measure.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Re-Coil

J.T.:  L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s sci-fi has always had an ethical twist to it, which certainly has influenced my writing.  All of the cyberpunk regular suspects (Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson, Richard K. Morgan, Katsuhiro Otomo) influenced my vision of the future.  Isaac Asminov and Phillip K. Dick were also big influences, particularly since I think the two of them were some of the biggest voices in the “detective sci-fi” world.  I’ve been reading sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery for 3 decades, so there are a lot of other influences. And that’s just the books. I also draw influence from movies, tv shows, anime, video games, and people watching. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Stephen Zimmer

Today I am interviewing Stephen Zimmer, author of the new epic fantasy novel, When Shadows Fall, final book in the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy.

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DJ: Hi Stephen! Thanks for coming back to do another interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Stephen:  Thank you for interviewing me!  It is wonderful to be back at MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape!  

For those who I haven’t met yet, I am a writer from Lexington, Kentucky who loves to explore all kinds of worlds and characters.  My published writing included genres such as epic fantasy, YA dystopian, sword and sorcery, horror, steampunk, and cross-genre fiction.  I currently have 16 titles in print, and 24 in eBook format.

  I have a great passion for storytelling, and my path has also seen me become an editor, filmmaker, and broadcaster, and I love doing what I can to be supportive of both my readers and fellow members of the writing community.  

DJ: What is When Shadows Fall and then the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy about?

Stephen: This is ultimately a Rayden Valkyrie adventure with a large story arc that comprises three books.  When Shadows Fall is the final installment and it is truly a grand finale to this tale.  

The story covers Rayden’s journey from a land far, far to the south of her world to the tribal lands across an ocean and to the north where she grew up after losing both of her parents in a violent manner as a child (I have not yet given full detail about this traumatic incident in Rayden’s life.)

The journey home takes a different course when she intervenes to save a young boy from being used as a sacrifice to a dark god.  From there she is brought into conflict with a rising empire that is trying to suppress a slave rebellion. The story deepens and takes many twists and turns as Rayden discovers the things that are driving the Teveren Empire relentlessly toward power and conquest.  

It is a harrowing adventure set in an ancient and dangerous world that pits Rayden against monstrous wilderness threats, dark supernatural entities, armies on the march, and a whole lot more. She has to put her life on the line several times to do what needs to be done to have a chance of thwarting the Teveren Imperator’s ambitions

When Shadows Fall brings everything together for a final showdown with the Imperator ruling the Teveren Empire.  The third book has a grand scale to it, but Rayden has to fill many roles in this conclusion to survive and try to overcome a wide range of adversaries.  

Readers will get to see it all through Rayden’’s eyes and experience her courage, compassion, kindness, strength, ferocity, and much more!   Continue reading

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Author Interview: John F. Allen

Today I am interviewing John F. Allen, author of the new urban fantasy, science-fiction, horror short story collection, The Best is Yet to Come.

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DJ: Hi John! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

John F. Allen: Thanks for having me here DJ! I’m an American author who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a life-long resident. My writing primarily focuses on genre fiction such as: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery. Besides being an author, I’m also a visual artist, comic book historian, podcaster/YouTube personality and jazz/blues/r&b/old school pop music aficionado.

DJ: What is The Best is Yet to Come about?

John: The Best is Yet to Come is a short story collection of work accumulated over the past 9 years of my writing career. It features stories from a variety of genres to showcase my versatility as a writer. A few of the stories were republished from earlier anthologies and others are newly published in this volume. All of the stories occur in the Ivoryverse, my literary universe named for the protagonist in my Ivory Blaque series, who also happens to the central figure of my literary universe, hence the name.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Best is Yet to Come

John: Well, with this collection there were as large of a variety of influences as there were stories. Generally speaking, I draw influence from my life experiences first and foremost. That, coupled with the people with whom I meet, interact with and those who are permanent fixtures in my life, help to flesh out the characters I create. From a literary standpoint, several of my heroes include: Walter Mosley, Chester Himes, Robert B. Parker, Don Pendleton, Marv Wolfman, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Piers Anthony, Robert Jordan, Laurel K. Hamilton, L.A. Banks, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Samuel Delany, Octivia Butler and Charles Saunders. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Wendy S. Delmater

Today I am interviewing Wendy S. Delmater, Editor of the new science-fiction and fantasy anthology, The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume 3.

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DJ: Hi Wendy! Thanks for agreeing to do an interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself? 

Wendy S. Delmater: Well, I’ve been editor Abyss & Apex  since 2006. I love editing–I edit novels and short stories professionally–and recently debuted a book called Writing the Entertaining Story to help new writers. Besides editing the three Best of Abyss & Apex anthologies I’m also the author of Confessions of a Female Safety Engineer,which is all about my days as a heavy construction safety manager in NYC, plus I’ve published a lot of genre short stories and poetry. But mostly, I love to edit!

DJ: What is The Best of Abyss & Apex Volume 3 about?

WSD: Abyss & Apex Magazine publishes “everything SF & F can be.” These stories, and a few framing poems, were the cream of the crop from the last few years. Reader favorites. I strove to give Best of A&A 3 the same balance as the magazine: 50 percent science fiction and 50 percent fantasy. I gave it a balance of humor and seriousness, light and dark. But mostly, the stories have heart

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind the stories selected in The Best of Abyss & Apex Volume 3

WSD: My staff and I just pick ‘em out of the slush pile. The inspiration comes from our wonderful authors. By the way, a quarter of our authors sell their first stories anywhere to Abyss & Apex. We’re very new-writer friendly. 

When I say some of the stories were popular, understand we keep track of which get more clicks or go viral. BY that metric “Roadmaster,” for example, was our readers’ fave of 2018. But of course, I put in some of my favorites: A piece of Islamic science fiction that did not fit into Best of A&A 2 comes to mind: “Mind Diver” by Vylar Kaftan.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tommy B. Smith

Today I am interviewing Tommy B. Smith, author of the new suspense and coming-of-age novel, Anybody Want to Play WAR?. 

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DJ: Hi Tommy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Tommy B. Smith: I’m the author of a few books, primarily horror and dark fiction, and numerous short stories over the years. I’ve done some editorial work along the way. My novel of 2018, The Mourner’s Cradle, won the Imadjinn Award for Best Horror Novel. The documentary Road Between Worlds: A Horror Author’s Chronicle made its debut recently, a feature which followed my book tour of 2018 and the intersecting journeys of a myriad of authors, artists, and creative institutions. My latest book is Anybody Want to Play WAR? 

DJ: What is Anybody Want to Play WAR about?

Tommy: It’s the story of a teenage boy scarred by a savage dog’s attack. His efforts to come to terms with this place him at severe odds with his family, and he flees his home to the streets of St. Charles. Here he meets the world outside the relative safety of his home and school, and will discover it is much larger than he might have expected. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for Anybody Want to Play WAR

Tommy: From many years ago I remember children on the playgrounds building forts and throwing rocks at each other in some semblance of war games. This served as a seed for the story’s inception and title. 

The book drew much of its influence from our world and the many kinds of people who struggle to coexist in it, including juvenile delinquents.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: S.D. Reeves

Today I am interviewing S.D. Reeves, author of the new fantasy novel, The Melody of Three, first book in the Evercharm trilogy

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DJ: Hi S.D.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

S.D.: Hey DJ, thank you for the invitation!

DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

S.D.: I am Southern born author from the great state of Alabama, living in Switzerland. So, this means I’ve traded in my “Morning Y’all,” for “Gruezi.” I write primarily fantasy, but I do occasionally dip into horror when it’s time to do my taxes. Outside of writing I enjoy playing the Cello, carving model ships, and pretending that the cracks in the sidewalk are lava. 

DJ: What is The Melody of Three about?

S.D.: It’s 1815. Napoleon has just returned from exile, fairy-bloods are being murdered in Britain, Elves have escaped from their ancient prison, and mysterious agents have overrun the Forum Magicae in Liverpool. Artisan (Sorceror) and Dutchman Christaan De Rein must find a way to end this challenge to the magical order and discover the secret behind the string of murders.

And in another world entirely, a young girl named Niena tries to survive. She holds the key to saving both of their worlds. Or destroying them. 

DJ: What were some of your influences The Melody of Three and the series? 

S.D.: It’s hard to pin down specific ones. Growing up I was like many people, enamored with the Lord of the Rings. I continued with a lot of the conventional authors after (Terry Pratchet, Rowling), though I was also a big fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. I would say they all had a hand in my writing style. Outside of this the biggest influence would have to be my wife, specifically her professional enthusiasm in the French Empire period, and living history. She spends a lot of time in museums studying original garments, and putting things together for events – what I’ve tagged along in. As you may have guessed from the description of the story, this heavily influenced the theme and setting.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jesse Jordan

Today I am interviewing Jesse Jordan, author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Graverobber’s Sword. 

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DJ: Hi Jesse! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Jesse Jordan: I’m just this guy, you know? Just an average book-loving Canadian dude.

DJ: What is The Graverobber’s Sword about?

Jesse: Oh man. If I had to narrow it down to a simple answer, I would say it’s about overcoming obstacles, especially when the obstacle in question just happens to be yourself. Who hasn’t gotten in their own way?

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Graverobber’s Sword

Jesse: If I had to narrow it down to just a handful, I would have to a little bit of every RPG game I’ve played and a dash of all fiction books I’ve ever read. I realize that’s a BIG, BROAD ANSWER and isn’t at all specific (or helpful for someone reading this) but it’s true. 

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Jesse: The main cast is a little big, so bear with me here!
Kera No-Clan: a barbarian living in exile. She has almost zero scruples, and does whatever she thinks is best for herself at any point in time.

Will Decker: an illusionist who has a bit of a problem with alcohol and a bigger problem keeping what’s real and what’s not separated.

Smith: is an artificer with an anger problem and a lot of baggage, but so long as his daughter is safe, that’s all that matters.

Enaurl: is Smith’s mechanical construct companion, a punch-happy robot in the shape of a beautiful woman.

Voldani Solreki: is a god-blooded scion, a descendant of the god Perrus who has been tasked by the church to keep Kera in line. 

Brenno Hornbuckle: is a retired adventurer turned pawnbroker who finds himself embroiled in the whole ordeal of the book against his will.

Zephelous: an ancient talking sword. It sees the potential in others, and believes that Kera could be a great hero… if only it could convince her to not be such a shitty person for a day or two. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Rachel Atwood

Today I am interviewing Rachel Atwood, author of the new fantasy novel, Walk the Wild with Me.

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DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Rachel Atwood: I fell in love with history as a small child. At first it was the costumes and horses; knights in shining armor, enchanted me. Then I saw the old Disney cartoon “The Sword in the Stone,” and I became enchanted with the whole Arthurian adventure. Somewhere in there I was introduced to the highly romanticized adventures of Robin Hood and his Merry Men with Richard Greene on TV. I’ve written straight historical works, (Magna Bloody Carta: A Turning Point in Democracy, under my legal name Phyllis Irene Radford) but I much prefer writing history with enchantments. Currently I live in the foothills of Mt. Hood in Oregon with protected wetland forest ten feet outside my office window. It is not hard for me to imagine myself on the edge of Sherwood Forest looking in on the adventures I write.

When I’m not writing I enjoy line dancing. Having grown up in a ballet studio, I cannot, not dance, so if we are at the same SF/F convention you might find me dancing in a local fountain. In another lifetime I was a seamstress and a lacemaker. Who knows what hobby I’ll fall into next. It’s all fodder for the fiction mill.

DJ: What is Walk the Wild with Me about?

Rachel: 1208-1215 A.D. the Church in Rome divorced King John of England, and King John divorced the Church. There was no one tell people that the fae Wild Folk of the forest did not exist, so they are free to come out and play. Our hero, Nicholas is an orphan who knows no other life than in an abbey. He frequently gets into trouble because when helping illuminate manuscripts he can’t help adding weird faces into the flowing illustrations. Then, with the help of a pagan goddess enshrined in an ancient cup, he stumbles into the woods one day and discovers another whole aspect of life. He makes friends with the wild folk and has adventures while exploring.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Walk the Wild with Me?

Rachel: I’ve studied British Folklore forever. The Green Man, dryads, sylphs, water sprites, and even trolls feel like my neighbors. I’ve also sung some Gregorian Chants in church choirs. Why shouldn’t I combine the two? Continue reading

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