Author Interview: Kate Murdoch

Today I am interviewing Kate Murdoch, author of the new fantasy novel, Stone Circle.

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

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

Kate Murdoch: I’m an artist turned writer. I exhibited as a painter for fourteen years before writing crept up on me seven years ago. I’ve been very focused on writing ever since. At the moment, I’m writing my third novel about a girl orphaned during the 1908 earthquake in Sicily and adopted by a wealthy family in Palermo.

DJ: What is Stone Circle about?

Kate: Stone Circle tells the story of Antonius, who wins a competition to be an apprentice to the town seer, along with the son of a nobleman. There is intense rivalry as they compete for the attention of their mentor and the affection of his daughter whilst learning about magic and alchemy.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Stone Circle?

Kate: I have had a lifelong interest in the unseen and unknown. I began looking into Eastern spiritual traditions such as Mahayana Buddhism and the Tao in my late teens. As I wrote ‘Stone Circle’ I was working with a Reiki master who took me to level two, giving me the ability to heal others. Trying to make sense of the world through the lens of different spiritual philosophies has shaped my life and writing. Along with this, there are parallels between my main character Antonius’s ability to inhabit two worlds and reinvent himself, and my own experience as an adopted person. Adopted people are self-invented because they don’t have the information about who they are as they grow up. So there is often a search for identity. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Kari Maaren

Photograph courtesy of Phil Mills

Today I am interviewing Kari Maaren, author of the new YA fantasy novel, Weave a Circle Round.

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

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

Kari Maaren: I’m a Canadian writer, cartoonist, musician, and university English instructor. I live in Toronto and basically do all the things. Weave a Circle Round is my first novel, but I also have a couple of webcomics, West of Bathurst and It Never Rains, and a couple of independent albums, Beowulf Pulled My Arm Off and Everybody Hates Elves. I am not fond of puns or elves, not necessarily in that order. I grew up in Vancouver, so whenever someone in Toronto complains that it’s “too rainy,” I laugh.

DJ: What is Weave a Circle Round about?

Kari: It’s an old-fashioned kids’ adventure story about a girl named Freddy who is just generally mad at the whole world, herself included. She wants to stay under the radar at high school, but her weird stepbrother and super-smart little sister draw attention to themselves and, peripherally, to her. Then a couple of bizarre new neighbours move in next door, and the weirdness begins to surge out of control. Saying too much more would constitute a huge spoiler, but basically, with WACR, you’ve got a mystery wrapped in a fantasy adventure sprinkled over with references to mythology and Romantic poetry, all tied up with a bow made of creepiness. Continue reading

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Author Interview: G.D. Penman

Today I am interviewing G.D. Penman, author of the new urban fantasy novel, The Year of the Knife.

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DJ: Hey G.D.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

G.D. Penman: Hi DJ. I am afraid there isn’t much to tell; I am pretty much a hermit except for the whole “writing” thing. I’ve been writing professionally for about a decade, and unprofessionally for a decade more, although the book I wrote at age 10 doesn’t really hold up very well.

DJ: What is The Year of the Knife about?

G.D.: The Year of the Knife is a hardboiled detective story that just happens to be set in a world where magic exists. It follows Agent Sullivan of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation as she tries to stop a body-hopping serial killer, avoid assassination attempts, deal with her boss being turned into a parrot and navigate her love life, something slightly complicated by the fact that her girlfriend is a little bit undead.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Year of the Knife?

G.D.: Urban Fantasy books are like candy for my brain, I gobble them up at an appalling rate, but something that always bothered me about them was that the world was never substantially different; the existence of magic and monsters didn’t seem to change anything. The Year of the Knife is a bit of a rebuttal to all those worlds where everything was identical except there were vampires and wizards hanging around. Reading American history was also a big inspiration for the more political aspects of the story. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jared Barlament

Today I am interviewing Jared Barlament, author of the new literary fantasy novel, The Plight of a People.

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

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

Jared Barlament: Of course! I am a self-published author of, so far, only one novel. I’m a student living in the rural Midwest, and manage my writing time in between school, soccer and marching band. I live on a bit of a tight schedule, but I make it work.

DJ: What is The Plight of a People about?

Jared: It’s what I like to call a literary fantasy epic. The book is split into three separate parts, each of them set at a different time period in the history of the Roesanian people on a fictional secondary world. The book follows them and their struggles through the eyes of three of their leaders, and is a show of the inner workings of ever-advancing governments and the spirits of righteous and corrupt men alike that run these governments.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Plight of a People?

Jared: I’ve read many classical works, and although modern fiction has found its influences in my work, most of my influence comes from the stories of many years ago. Tolkien’s and Homer’s sagas have probably had the biggest effect on me as a writer, as have philosophical writers such as Plato. Continue reading

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Author Interview: James Parsons

Today I am interviewing James Parsons, author of the new horror novel, Northern Souls.

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

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

James E. Parsons: I went from working in art and film and animation production to writing screenplays and then fiction a few years ago. I’ve previously had two SF novel published since 2013.

DJ: What is Northern Souls about?

James: The story focuses on a young man named Eric after his girlfriend has mysteriously died. His feels that he is suspected of killing her and goes to jump from the Tyne bridge. Her ghost comes to him and tells him about demonic tribes which control the people of the North East and have done for a long, long time. This is how she died. She begins to lead him toward how to stop them, save others and her soul.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Northern Souls?

James: Some of the long standing influences on my horror fiction include the early works of Clive Barker, the books of Graham Masterton, Poppy Z Brite besides Poe and Lovecraft an others. Also many horror films such as Hellraiser, the films of Dario Argento, Carpenter, Romero, Hammer horror and more. Continue reading

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Author Interview and Excerpt: Connie Corcoran Wilson

Today I am interviewing Connie Corcoran Wilson, author of the paranormal-thriller series, The Color of Evil, whose first three books are currently being released as a box set.

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

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

Connie Corcoran Wilson: I am a graduate of the University of Iowa who has also attended Berkeley, NIU, WIU and the University of Chicago. I’ve taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges and taught from 1969 to 1985 before going to work writing a book for Performance Learning Systems, Inc. (“Training the Teacher As A Champion” published in 1989). I founded 2 businesses in Bettendorf, Iowa (Sylvan Learning Center #3301 and a Prometric Testing Center) and, when I sold them in 2003, I began writing “long.” I have always written “short” (i.e., newspapers and blogs), since I was 11 years old. I’ve now published about 35 books or contributions to anthologies by other publishers and began self-publishing more in the last few years. I also am married, have 2 grown children (Scott and Stacey) and move between the Quad Cities of Illinois, Chicago and Austin, Texas, where I will be covering film festivals for www.TheMovieBlog.com, www.Quadcities.com and www.WeeklyWilson.com from now until November 3rd.

DJ: What is The Color of Evil series about?

CW:  As the Amazon lead-in says, “In the 3 novels that comprise THE COLOR OF EVIL SERIES, we follow the adventures of Tad McGreevy, the young boy who can see auras around others and, from this, dreams of the crimes of the evil-doers in vivid nightmares. We take Tad and his best friend Stevie Scranton and their high school friends through their junior and senior years of high school, when evil stalks the land and Pogo, the Killer Clown, terrorizes the small Midwestern town of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Color of Evil series?

CW:  I am most often compared to Stephen King, Philip K. Dick and Dean Koontz—although I protest that what happens in my books could REALLY happen. It’s good company to be in, so I won’t deny their influence. I was probably influenced by early TV shows like “Twilight Zone,” “Thriller” and the like. Continue reading

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Author Interview: J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison

Today I am interviewing J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison, author of the new YA, horror/comedy novel, Demon Freaks.

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

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

J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison: Demon Freaks is my second novel novel (I wrote a graphic novel, The Helm, for Dark Horse Comics). My first novel novel, was the epically silly epic fantasy Fish Wielder, which was released by Fiery Seas Publishing in 2016.

I’ve worked as a writer, screen writer, animator, film editor, producer and director in comics, commercials and entertainment since graduating from film school. I started my professional career by co-writing, producing, and even acting in a low-budget direct-to-video feature, The Creature From Lake Michigan. That movie turned out to be so bad, it was actually kind of hilarious, but it also almost ruined my plans to work in film. I guess every cloud has a stupid lining though. Making a bad film can be a crash course in the essential elements of good character and story, and The Creature From Lake Michigan was such a tremendously bad film that I learned A LOT. After a brief stint recuperating as a freelance writer and film editor, I founded my own production company. After seven years of wearing myself out doing that, I shifted my focus entirely to animation and joined Will Vinton Studios. They’re the guys that did the California Raisins and most of the animated M&M’s commercials. While I was there, I directed animated commercial and entertainment projects, including some M&M’s, as well as episodic television (UPN’s Gary and Mike). While working at Vinton, I also co-wrote the television special Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy with actor Paul Reiser (many people know him as the guy from Mad About You, but I prefer to think of him as Carter Burke from Aliens).

After that, I got very interested in story theory and co-founded a company (Character) to help the people who work on brands and entertainment properties understand how to more effectively work with story. While doing that, I appeared on NBC’s The Apprentice (although I didn’t get to meet The Donald) as an expert advisor on brand characters. I also did character development work and wrote the pilot episode for the PBS children’s television series SeeMore’s Playhouse, and I authored that previously mentioned graphic novel, The Helm (which was named one of 2010’s top ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by YALSA, a branch of the American Library Association—just to slip in a little bragging).

These days, I live in Portland, Oregon, with my lovely wife, my two charming daughters, one smart dog and one stupid dog.

DJ: What is Demon Freaks about?

J.R.R.R.: On the eve of their SAT tests, identical twin brothers, Bing and Ron Slaughter, along with the members of their high school band, the Ephits, have to battle a cult of insane golfers who are trying to summon a demon in order to rule the world. You know, pretty typical experience everyone has been through at some point in their life. If I had to compare the book to something, it’s kind of like punk rock Hardy Boys versus monsters and demons. Oh, and it’s funny.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Demon Freaks?

J.R.R.R.: My influences go way back. When I was a kid, I used to read the Hardy Boys novels and watch a lot of Scooby Do. While I enjoyed both, I used to think they would have been better if they were mashed together into the same story. Then, as I got older, my tastes turned more to fantasy and horror. While I read and loved most of the serious stuff, I was particularly influenced by horror that had comedic overtones. For example, I looooooved Evil Dead 2, which had a huge impact on me, as well as Fright Night, Tremors and Shaun of the Dead. Book-wise, I’d say the works of Christopher Moore (especially the Blood Sucking Fiends trilogy), Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files series), and David Wong (the John Dies at the End series) have all been influences. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Gavin Reese

Today I am interviewing Gavin Reese, author of the newl released Alex Landon Thriller series, which already includes a novel, Enemies Domestic, a novella, Room Number Three, and a short compilation called Alex Landon Starter Library.

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

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

Gavin Reese:  Yes, thanks for having me, DJ.  As you said, I recently had my first novel, Enemies Domestic published and released on 3 July.  I’m a full-time cop and, among other things, a part-time author, so my stories and the Alex Landon Thriller Series are all based on cases that I and my partners have worked.  During my cop career, I’ve had assignments in Patrol, Field Training, Narcotics, SWAT, and Special Investigations.  I’ve been blessed with great partners, and am grateful to have had tremendous professional opportunities.

DJ: What is Enemies Domestic about?

Gavin: I wrote it based on some real-world events in the Phoenix area, and it details the efforts of Alex Landon, a suburban police detective in fictional Dry Creek, Arizona, and a civilian informant to investigate a white-supremacist hate group after they are suspected of attempting to acquire explosive materials and bomb-making components.  What Landon and his informant don’t realize is that the group’s leader, effectively a silent partner in the organization, has much greater aspirations and the intended physical destruction is only the beginning of their plot and long-term objectives.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Enemies Domestic and the series?

Gavin: I grew up writing.  Starting in about fourth grade, my dad would make us write essays as punishment rather than resorting to corporal measures.  We’d turn in an essay on “Responsibility” and he’d grade it with a red pen, give it back for corrections, and we’d lather, rinse, and repeat as necessary.  This continued until both he was satisfied with the product and we were determined NOT to recommit the original offense, which, in hindsight, was likely his objective all along.  After I’d been working as a cop for a while, the cop shows, books, and movies that I loved so much as a civilian had suddenly become two-dimensional, inaccurate half-truths about police work.  By that point, writing had grown cathartic for me, and was just as therapeutic as running.  So, I got hurt at work, was frustrated with a lot of different aspects of my personal life at that point, and started writing a realistic police story, as at least I now see them, to deal with my stress while I worked on my physical recovery.  I should also give a friend and editor, Vivian Caethe, credit where it’s due here as an “influence” for this specific novel.  The original text was over 700 pages and 184,000 words, and she recommended rewriting it in first person and breaking the text into two novels. Continue reading

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Author Interview: G.A. Minton

Today I am interviewing G.A. Minton, author of the new horror novel, Antitheus.

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DJ: Hi G.A.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

G.A. Minton: Hello DJ, it’s a pleasure to be here! My father was a career Air Force man, so we moved around quite frequently during my formative years. Though born in Texas, I spent my early childhood growing up in a small town located in northern California. From there, we moved to Mississippi and then back to Texas while I was still in school. Having spent time living in various areas across America, I’ve learned much from my exposure to a wide variety of people and their cultures. I’m a horror/sci-fi author who has published two novels thus far. My debut novel, Trisomy XXI, was published by World Castle Publishing on June 6, 2016, and I’ve recently completed the screenplay for it. Antitheus is scheduled for release on October 16, 2017, and will be available in eBook, Paperback, and Hardcover formats. Currently, I am hard at work processing the text for another tale of the macabre. I happily live in Texas with my wife, a son and daughter, and two Bengal cats named Phinneas and Shamus.

DJ: What is Antitheus about?

G.A.: ANTITHEUS is a supernatural horror novel that takes the concept of Good vs. Evil to a whole new level.  Here’s a short synopsis: Trapped by a blizzard in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a group of clergymen attending a religious conference find themselves thrown into a gruesome battle with evil incarnate itself. One by one, the holy leaders are being brutally slaughtered by an unknown, malevolent entity. Facing impossible odds and running out of time, the survivors must work together to match wits against their deadly adversary. It’s an epic battle of Good versus Evil, with the winner taking all…the fate of every man, woman, and child on Earth hangs in the balance!  Conjured up from the vivid imagination of G.A. Minton, the award-winning author of TRISOMY XXI, comes a tale of unspeakable horror. Akin to Seven, The Prophecy, and Angel Heart, ANTITHEUS takes the forces of light and darkness to a whole new level—holding an unforeseen ending that will both surprise and amaze its reader. Prepare yourself for a terrifying trip into the world of infinite evil! Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jamie Sawyer

Today I am interviewing Jamie Sawyer, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Eternity War: Pariah, first book in the Eternity War series.

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

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

Jamie: Thanks so much for interviewing me! Well, I’m a science fiction writer based in the UK. Although I have a full-time job, writing has always been my passion and I’ve written SF since before I can remember. My books are exciting space adventures with a military aspect. If you enjoy tales of starships, daring space missions, and mysterious alien races, then these books are for you. The Eternity War is my second trilogy, which is set in the same universe as my first series The Lazarus War – although you don’t need to have read the first series to enjoy the second!

DJ: What is The Eternity War: Pariah about?

Jamie: Pariah is the story of Lieutenant Keira Jenkins, commanding officer of the Jackals. Jenkins and her team are members of the Simulant Operations Programme – they use technology that allows them to operate copies of themselves (“simulants”) in the most deadly theatres of war. One body dies, but you can come back in another: and you get to use whatever you learnt the first time around. But the Jackals are a green outfit, and Jenkins struggles to manage them. They discover the existence of an alien virus and become embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens to destabilise galactic peace. There’s lots of action, intrigue and adventure along the way!

DJ: What were some of your influences The Eternity War: Pariah and the series?

Jamie: I’m influenced by so many things that the list is almost endless! Video games, literature, movies, music: it all goes into the mix. In terms of authors, I’d say that my biggest influences have been Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman and John Steakley. I think that Starship Troopers, The Forever War and Armor are the triumvirate of military SF classics! But I’m an avid SF reader, and modern authors like Dan Abnett, Jack Campbell and Gary Gibson are right up there too.

For Pariah specifically, though, Enemy Mine (both the story by Barry B Longyear and the film) sort of influenced me: the idea of working with an enemy that you don’t understand, but that you have to trust, is a very enduring one.    Continue reading

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