An interview with Shannon Lee Alexander, author of Life After Juliet

Hello readers! Today I have an interview for you, from the lovely Shannon Lee Alexander! She is the author of Life After Juliet, which releases today! So settle down, read a little about her, and then don’t forget to pick up your copy!

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What initially inspired you to write Life After Juliet?

I am an accidental serial novelist. I’d never intended to write a companion to LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. I was happy with the story’s end, at least until my editor asked, “What happens to Becca?” Boom! I had to know the answer for myself! So, I began writing Becca’s story, and after many drafts and agonizing critique sessions with my writing group, LIFE AFTER JULIET was completed.

What was most challenging about writing this book?

Tapping in to my own grief from losing a friend, but making sure Becca’s experience with her own grief was very different from mine. While Becca and I are similar, we are not the same person, so I needed to honor her journey and not allow my experiences to color hers.

What are you most excited for people to experience in Life After Juliet when it is released on July 5th?

Max Herrera. No, wait! Darby Jones. No! Victor Song…and Kelli and Miles and Greg…oh, and Thomas, too! I’m excited about sharing all these new characters that Becca meets. There are so many wonderful characters in this story. Each of them surprised me as I was writing LIFE AFTER JULIET. I can’t wait for you all to meet them!

What writers have inspired you?

Wilson Rawls, the author of WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, was the first writer to give me a book hangover. I was in third grade, but I still remember that completely empty feeling I had at the end of that book. Harper Lee’s beautiful writing and amazing characters in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD have inspired me time and again. Her work plays a big role in LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. There are many characters and themes in that book inspired by Ms. Lee. I’ve also always loved theater and reading plays. And Shakespeare is a staple of the theater. Although Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite Shakespearean play, it was fun to draw parallels to it in LIFE AFTER JULIET.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?

Just one? No fair! Um…I had no idea how to answer this, so I asked my son. He said he’d meet Percy Jackson because Percy’s always surrounded by friends so he’d get to meet them, too. He said, “It’s all about where you meet them, Mom.” My son is a genius. So, I’d want to meet Harry Potter, in The Great Hall at the opening feast during the fourth year. Then, I’d get to meet just about everyone!

What was the last book you read?

I’m so glad you asked because I just finished a beautiful book and I’m dying to tell people about it. MAYBE A FOX by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee is a gorgeous middle grade book about a girl and a fox and the heartbreaking ways in which they are connected, the ways in which we’re all connected, even if we’re too wrapped up in our own lives to notice. I LOVED this book. It tugged at my heart in all the right ways, and tissues were definitely necessary at the end.

—  — —

Thanks so much Shannon! I think your son has definitely cracked the code on the fictional characters question. The problem is, I love both Percy and Harry so much, so how to choose between them???

If you want to learn more about Shannon and Life After Juliet, click here!

An interview with L. E. Sterling, author of True Born

Hello everyone! Today I have something special to feature on the blog because L. E. Sterling, author of True Born (the first in the True Born trilogy) agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her newest novel.

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What initially inspired you to write True Born?

Writing novels is such a messy business. I really think that for me, a novel is a collage of all of my experiences, emotions and impressions. But in True Born I’d have to say there are two main threads that led to the novel.

I’ve been using my novels as vehicles to explore the environmental crisis that’s upon us. Our environmental crisis is more than just about garbage or pollution – I’d call that a ‘skin deep’ approach. Instead, I believe this crisis affects our very DNA. It affects our hormone levels, our biological stress levels and so on, and in a very real way that results in disease. We’ve really segmented our society so that “medicine” supposedly fixes a problem – but does it? True Born doesn’t really answer this question – yet! But it does state the problem, I think, in what I hope are some really clear and articulate ways.

The other inspiration was my family. I’ve been quite obsessed by the incredible story of my great-grandmother, who was born in England and sent to the U.S. to be an indentured servant circa 1900. As the story goes, she was very young when she was shipped over, and I imagine the whole voyage was traumatic, because apparently my great-grandmother forgot who she was through the crossing.

When she finally arrived in the U.S. she gave everyone her twin’s name instead of her own. She ended up living her entire life, up until she was a middle-aged adult, by her twin’s name. It’s such a fascinating tale – I really wanted to explore the idea of having a bond with someone that was so close that it took over your own, so I explored this in a fictional world.

Tell us about Lucy. Why do you think people will connect to her as a main character?

Well, I think people will make up their own minds as to how they will connect to Lucy. But from my perspective, Lucy is the greatest character! She’s got spunk and depths that she’s only just beginning to explore. But at the same time she’s really trapped by the thought paradigms she’s grown up with. I think that strange duality leads to some of the best tension in the book, because she’s always fighting with her desire and inclination to play it safe, play by the rules of her parents and her upper class world. In the end, she just can’t. She just isn’t that person, no matter how much she wants to be. She’s far bigger, and the events unfolding around her just won’t let her be.

True Born was originally published on Wattpad. How was the experience of transitioning from that to a more traditional publishing route?

This is a good question. The answer is: it isn’t!

To unpack that: I really only meant for True Born to exist on Wattpad as a novella. It was, to my mind, “fully formed” and never meant for publication. It was meant to be a back story for another set of novels I was planning but then… the story seemed to get very popular and I ended up pursuing it as first a novel, and then a trilogy!

Other writers have used Wattpad to land their first publishing deals (happens rarely, folks) but I already had two published novels under my belt, and a literary agent, so this wasn’t my main goal! What I needed was some inspiration and encouragement – even with an agent, the publishing industry can be crushing! – and honestly, Wattpad’s amazing community of creators gave that to me in spades.

What writers have inspired you?

There are so many!! Among many others, I have spent the last few years obsessed with Ilona Andrews, Cassandra Clare, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, Maria V. Snyder, and Tanya Huff. Before that, I was really taken by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

What I really love was how these writers are able to fully immerse you in these alternate realities. It’s quite something – and I learn so much from reading (and rereading, and rereading) their work. I really aspire to some of the intense world-building that these writers are so good at. I want readers to feel as though they are citizens of Dominion (the city True Born is set in) – not voyeurs.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?

Honestly? I would want to make friends with Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series (Ilona Andrews). She is one scary awesome lady. Kick ass assassin and marshmallow softy. I love that combination.

What is the last book that you read?

I’ve just finished Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs. It was as amazing as all the others in the Mercy Thompson series – perfect!

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If you’re interested in learning more about True Born, which will be available May 3rd, read on:

Summary:

Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

For more about the author:

Twitter: @le_sterling
Facebook (this is brand new):  https://www.facebook.com/LESterling22/

Interview with Janiera Eldridge, author of Good Ghost Gone Bad!

Today I’m happy to welcome Janiera Eldridge to the blog, author of good Ghost Gone Bad! I wanted to ask her a few questions about her writing process, the book, and her experience with books in general:

Did something inspire you to write Good Ghost Gone Bad?

I was inspired to write this story after recognizing my addiction to the ID Discovery channel. I was so outraged about the senseless murders I saw on that channel and even angrier that so many of the killers remain free. I was really inspired to write a story about justice coming from the afterlife. It’s gruesome at times and gritty, but I these people deserve that kind of death.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The biggest challenge I had was writing a book with a lot of violence and giving it all some sort of purpose. I always feel that when I write violence into my story it needs to mean something otherwise it’s just constant violence and that feels too strange to write.

Have you been influenced by any particular writer’s style?

I can’t say I have ever been influenced by someone’s writing because I truly believe it Is imperative for a writer to find their own voice.

If you had to choose a place to haunt, where would you be and why?

Wow, that’s a good question. I’d have to say congress. For obvious reasons, I’d really like to scare the crap out of them.                             

If you could meet any fictional character, who would you pick?

oh my, I think it would have to be Lestate from Interview With a Vampire. He’s super hot, but he might eat me. I’ll take the chance.

What was the most exciting aspect of writing Good Ghost Gone Bad?

I enjoyed building the ghosts personality because they’re all so different and fun to work with.

What is the last book you read?

The Twin Dragons by Rue Volley, it’s an erotica with plenty of wonderful drama.

Thank you so much for answering my questions!

If you’re interested in learning more about the book, read on!

summary :

Brianna Moreno was an average 22-year-old women who loved shopping, hanging out with her friends and making more career plans….until the night she was brutally and unexpectedly murdered.

Now she finds herself trapped in the ghost world while residing on earth. The problem is, her killer can see all of his ghostly victims and enjoys taunting them as much as he does killing them.Brianna soon finds out that her killer has horrible new plans concerning her family.

Brianna meets up with a few of her killer’s past victims to hatch a plan so terrifying, the entire town will never be the same again.

Brianna is a good ghost gone bad; the good girl side is gone forever!

*This book is not a YA read. It’s an 18+ only novella that features sex, strong language and strong violence.

buy it here:

amazon

(it’s free!)

Blog Tour! Family Magic by Patti Larsen

 

Today I’m excited to host an interview with Patti Larsen, author of Family Magic! And look at that cover! Isn’t it gorgeous? I just love that color and all of the different elements to it.

About Family Magic : Sixteen-year-old Sydlynn Hayle is the daughter of a powerful witch and a demon lord of the seventh plane. The trouble is, she just wants to be ordinary. Syd struggles to survive the minefield of her new high school while being torn between her attraction to football hero Brad Peters and the darkly mysterious Quaid Moromond. When her coven comes under attack, Syd is forced to face the fact only her power can save her family’s magic.

Without further ado, let’s get to the questions!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I had never read any young adult before, raised on hard-core sci-fi and fantasy thanks to my father. But when a friend handed me a Nancy Drew mystery, I read it in two hours. Literally closed the book, looked up from it and told my parents I was going to write a book of my own.

What inspires you to write and why? My husband always tries to shush me when I say this out loud, but I ignore him. I don’t care if it sounds nuts. I hear voices. Loud and clear, badgering me almost constantly to tell their stories. Teenagers, mostly. Bossy bunch. But I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons in my youth, starting at about age nine. So living/breathing/dreaming in the worlds my father and others built around our characters was a huge influence. I also found a great deal of inspiration from reading about history, taking classics courses, studying ancient Greece and Egypt.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? None of it. I love what I do so much. From finding the core idea to developing an outline, writing and editing and all the things in between. Just. Awesome.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? I’m presently writing book eighteen of the Hayle Coven Novels, Enforcer. Syd begins her journey in Family Magic as a sixteen-year-old who just wants out of the family coven. To live her life like an ordinary teenager. By the end of the series, she’s a force to be reckoned with, a powerful being with the universe in the palm of her hand who still screws up, has a fun sense of humor and feels so much for others it’s constantly getting her in trouble.

What books have most influenced your life? I grew up on hard-core fantasy and science fiction, so my biggest influences come from those genres. The Belgariad by David Eddings, the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffery. Anything by Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, JRR Tolkien, Isaac Asimov. The list is long and all of the authors on it left a mark on my spirit.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? Trust the Universe, Mike Dooley. I have it tatooed on my right foot. Because it is the only thing you need to know. Trust. Then leap.

What is your favorite food? I have to pick one? Chocolatepizzaburgerbutterchickenfries.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I was a nerdy, geekgirl with a terrible self esteem. I lived in my head, with my characters from such a young age, it was more real to write and engage with the people of my imaginings than those in the real world.

With two extrovert sisters and a very charismatic mother, it was hard to be the quiet, melancholy one. Though I am very grateful for my geekiness now. And, as they say, trial and pain make better writing. I’m just glad the dark stuff is behind me, if not the nerdadge.

What is your favorite color? Blue. All shades. There’s just something amazing about it, like it’s soul color.

About Patti Larsen: You’re not looking for my polished bio, huh? You sure you want more? The real dirty, down deep, nitty gritty? Fair enough. Here goes: I’m a card-carrying nerd. It’s taken years to admit it. I’m also a hermit in a writing basement who prefers solitude to people (cats always welcome). I’m a writing fiend who hears the voices of teenagers and blushes at the S-E-X parts. I don’t sleep very well. Ever. My mind is too busy. I am a feline loving married woman who could easily end up a crazy cat lady if my husband would let me. I am a paradigm shifter, a believer in self and my own personal power. I see everything in black and white until the gray is explained to me. I am a fiercely loyal friend, a confidant and a Tarot card reader and intuitive. I am a proud roller derby girl, a total dweeb and can’t dance to save my soul. I am terrified of heights and challenge that fear every chance I get. Oh, and I’m the Creator. The Queen of my own Destiny. I love that.

You can follow the rest of the tour here!

Blog Tour! Gold Manor Ghost House: Author Interview!

 

Today I’m excited to have an interview with Merry Brown on the blog, author of Gold Manor Ghost House!

Did something inspire you to write Gold Manor Ghost House?

I finished my first novel, The Knowers, and was looking for inspiration. I started writing a book about dreaming, but 10,000 words into it, it was going nowhere.  I remember sitting at a coffee shop, facing facts, and making the hard decision to start over.

So I had the idea of the main character experiencing some kind of interactive dreaming, but I was looking for more.  The more came from my kids.  Their TV watching habits gave me the idea I needed, the place in which my characters would live.  Once I found the backdrop to Gold Manor Ghost House, which is a teen drama TV set, the story began to crystallize in my mind.

What did you find most challenging about writing Gold Manor Ghost House?

I think it was a cross between containing my ideas and the discipline to actually do the writing.  In fact, the hardest part was definitely wrangling my body and mind into a chair, opening the computer to the GMGH document, and writing.  Even when I knew where the story was going, even when I was excited about how it was unfolding, still… it was hard to do the actual work of writing.

Have you been influenced by any particular writer’s style?

I’m sure I have, but can’t tell you whom.  I think my style is a mixture of the YA lit I’ve read mixed with the pop culture I’ve consumed over my life.

If you had to choose a place to haunt, where would you be and why?

Well, I suppose I’d find a beautiful cathedral or basilica.  Possibly the St. Louis Basilica.  Why?  I’d want to be close to the beauty, art, reverence, incense, and divine.

On a side note, I don’t think this will ever be a real concern for me.  I know I wrote a book that suggests there are ghosts (maybe they do exist in the GMGH world, and maybe they don’t), but in real life, I don’t think ghosts are metaphysically possible.

If you could meet any fictional character who would you pick?

I’ve loved so many fictional characters in books, TV, and film, it’s difficult to choose!  I love Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  From books, and this may sound self-serving, but I’d like to meet Lizzy from The Knowers.  First of all, she’s from my mind, and I’d like to meet her in the flesh.  Also, because of what she is.

What was the most exciting aspect about writing Gold Manor Ghost House?

I had a lot of fun writing Gold Manor Ghost House, but the most exciting aspect is sharing the book. I get so excited when someone reads it!  I get butterflies, tongue-tied, and sometimes I sweat.  It’s such a natural high to know others have been in this world and become invested in Anna, Adam, Corey and the gang.  If you could see me right now, you’d see the huge grin on my face.

What is the last book that you read?

Right now I’m reading The 5th Wave by Richard Yancey.  Before that, I read Fox Forever, the last book in the Jenna Fox Chronicles by Mary Pearson.  Next up is either Clockwork Princes by Cassandra Clare, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, or A Million Suns by Beth Revis.  So many great books to read!

Thanks so much for answering my questions! Now here’s a little more about the book:

Anna thought life was going to be awesome.  She was right…and wrong.

Won her dream job acting in a hit TV series.  Check.

Working with her best friend.  Check.

The set’s haunted and she’s in the middle of a supernatural war.  Uh, check?

Anna Rose Ellington is sixteen and living in Hollywood, hoping to be a star. Anna just landed a major role on Ghost House, TeenTV’s new fall drama.  A show promising to be so hot, Meg Sweet (the reigning teenage diva), signed on for the lead, and Adam Lewis (international rock sensation) is a principal player.

Her dreams are falling into place until she gets on set and begins questioning her sanity.  It’s true she has an unusual dream life, where once in a while her dreams literally come true.  But it’s been a while.  On top of her dreams not staying put in her brain, including the guy she’d been dreaming of for years, the house they’re filming in, Gold Manor, might actually be haunted.  But that’s the least of her worries.

If that’s not enough to interest you, here’s an excerpt!

Prologue

As a special treat on this, my 11th birthday, Aunt Melinda invited me for a sleepover.  The promise of pizza, painting toe nails, and having the attention of my favorite person in the world, all to myself, was the perfect way to celebrate.

I remember sitting on the dusty rose laminate countertop of her kitchen as she kneaded the dough.  She listened as I told her about school and the drama of the playground.  I remember her strange reaction as I recounted a vivid dream I had about a boy with an English accent, dark curly hair, and jade eyes.

Her hands dripping with tomato sauce and chest covered in flour, she hugged me, holding on tightly.  I was trying to figure out why she was acting so strangely when a heavy knock on the front door broke the moment.

I remember the look in her eyes as she made me promise to stay out of sight in the kitchen, no matter what I heard or what happened.  She made me promise, yet again, to never tell the secret she made me keep.  She knew I didn’t understand what the big deal was, but I promised.

“Swear, on my life,” her voice too urgent.

“Swear.”

That was the last word she ever heard me say.

I heard the door open from my hiding place under the sink.

I heard her gasp in surprise.

I heard a shot and her fall to the ground screaming, and a rough, low voice say, “Check.”

I heard her cries turn to gurgling.

Fear ruling my brain, I had to see what was going on.  Creeping out, yet remaining hidden, I looked.

I saw her on the floor, bleeding.

I saw a tall, broad man standing over her, smiling.

I saw this man bend down, rip out, and eat her heart.

I saw Aunt Melinda standing in the doorway as pale as a ghost… and on the floor, dead.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour or to comment below! The author is giving away a $25 amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter! You can follow the rest of the tour here.

 

Interview with Andy Gavin, author of Untimed!

Today I’m pleased to welcome to the blog Andy Gavin, author of Untimed and The Darkening Dream! He was kind enough to answer a few questions for me dealing with his new novel Untimed and time travel in general!

 

Did something inspire you to write Untimed?

Typically, Untimed began from a fusion of ideas. Lingering in my mind for over twenty years was a time travel story about people from the future who fell “downtime” to relive exciting moments in history (until things go wrong). I worked out a time travel system but had no plot or characters. Separately, in 2010, as a break from editing The Darkening Dream, I experimented with new voice techniques, especially first person present. I also read various “competition.” One of these was The Lightning Thief (the first Percy Jackson novel), which has an amazing series concept (if a slightly limp execution).  I love mythology and history, and liked the notion of something with a rich body of material to mine. I wanted an open ended high concept that drew on my strengths, which brought me back to time travel.

Some of the mechanics from my earlier concept merged well with a younger protagonist, voiced in a visceral first person present style. I started thinking about it, and his voice popped into my head. I pounded out a chapter not too dissimilar from the first chapter of the final novel. Then the most awesome villain teleported into the situation. I can’t remember how or why, but it happened quickly and spontaneously. Tick-Tocks were born (or forged).

What did you find most challenging about writing Untimed?

With Untimed, the hardest parts had to do with the time travel. First of all, I had to come up with a unique new system that allowed multiple visits to the same time period, but wasn’t too overpowered. If your characters are too powerful, there is no jeopardy. So I had to invent all the restrictions and deal with the issues of paradox (and I think I have a crafty new solution there). Then I had to figure out how to make returning to the SAME action actually interesting for the reader. That was even harder.

If you could live through any historical event, what would it be?

It depends a little on if I had to actually face the dangers involved. Many really exciting events in history are a bit… chaotic, like say the siege of Syracuse where Archimedes used all his crazy devices or Alexander’s battle at the Granicus. I’d also love to see some of the great cities, like Rome under Marcus Aurelius or Constantinople during the reign of Justinian. So many goodies. Definitely the ancient world though.

If you could meet a person out of history, who would you pick?

Alexander the Great. Conquering half the world is just too cool to resist. Plus, he knew how to party.

In Untimed, Charlie can only travel to the past. If you had this ability, is there a time period you would like to live through?

I’d go forward and have myself upgraded into an indestructible cyborg, then I’d go back and explore the past, particularly the ancient Mediterranean. In Untimed, poor Charlie is so busy putting history back together, he doesn’t have a chance to sightsee.

What was the most exciting aspect of writing Untimed?

Untimed’s single first person POV is Charlie, and he was very fun to write. He calls things as he sees them, and given his basic naiveté, that’s pretty funny. We’re inside his head, and nothing is really sacred there. This can also be contrasted with what he does and says, which is sometimes not as bold as he thinks. Dialog-wise, his love interest, Yvaine, is also a blast because she’s incredibly direct and not afraid to work it.

What is the last book that you read?

Life of Pi. I saw the movie, and I just had to find out how faithful it was to the source material, particularly as I’m obsessed with the process of adaption. The book is deeper and its allegorical presentation much clearer, but the film translation is decidedly faithful and effective. Both are great though.

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A big thanks to Andy Gavin for his wonderful answers and also for the opportunity to read his wonderful new novel! I loved Untimed and I definitely think that you will, too! (Plus it’s only $2.99 for Kindle! And Nook!)

Interview with Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream

Today I’m happy to welcome Andy Gavin to the blog. I reviewed his book The Darkening Dream a few days ago. You should go check that out. But stick around for a few seconds first. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for me,

*What inspired you to write The Darkening Dream

There are two answers to that, the visceral and the cerebral. With The Darkening Dream, the visceral part was this image I had – and some might consider me disturbed – of a dead tree silhouetted against an orange sky, a naked body bound to it, disemboweled, and bleeding out. The sound of a colossal horn or gong blares. The blood glistens black in the sunset light. Bats circle the sky and wolves bay in the distance. But sacrifice isn’t just about killing. It’s a contract. Someone is bargaining with the gods. And on the cerebral side, I’ve always been a huge vampire fan and I’ve read and watched a large percentage of the oeuvre. But also as a history buff I wanted to write a supernatural story that was more grounded in real history and legend. I’m always thinking, “that could have been so much better if they didn’t make up the historical backstory” so I started with the villains. What kind of ancient evil creatures might still be around? What do they want? And what legitimate human reason would they have to destroy the world (Buffy-style)? I don’t exactly answer the question in TDD, because the motives of 5,000 year old baddies should be mysterious. But trust me, they have a plan, and the sheer audacity of it will literally shake the foundations of the heavens.

*Where is your favorite place to write?

My work space is extremely messy but with a great view of Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. I write on a 12 core Mac Pro with two Apple 30” monitors. Yeah, I’m a computer geek, and an Apple weenie to boot. I write in Scrivener which is a totally awesome writer’s word processor. Any writer still using Word is crazy J.

Unless something distracting is going on I try to have my butt in the chair by around 10am (after working out) and more or less keep it there until around 6pm. If drafting new prose I try to do about 2000 words a day. I write, then I do a polish pass. If I had to rewrite significantly during that pass I’ll do a third sweep to cleanup.

Then I print and run to my wife for instant feedback J. Next I email it to my Mom and my “story consultant” (one of my friends who reads it right away). Feedback is good. I find that I’ll often redraft a chunk on the basis of these early comments.

*What did you find most challenging about writing The Darkening Dream?

The endless re-reading and careful editing is more tedious (although I do a lot of it!). Sitting down to read the entire book again for the 50th time takes some serious will power. The agent query process is also horrible — and not nearly as productive. It’s really wretched and broken in every way, designed only for the convenience and efficiency of agents. But it doesn’t even really serve that. The process is loosely functional but frustrating for both sides in a way reminiscent of American Healthcare.

*If you could meet any literary character, who would you pick?

Dionysus. I’m sure he’d be great to party with.

*Have you been influenced by any particular writer’s style?

Tim Powers is a favorite for his ability to bring to life the fey in a grounded yet truly otherworldly way. Stephen King is another (not all his books but many) for his uncannily ability to characterize people in just a sentence or two and his unerring ear for dialogue. Dan Simmons for the massive scope of his world building and command of pathos. George R. R. Martin for his mastery at making his gigantic cast of characters feel developed and above all, human.

*What is your all-time favorite book?

Just one? I don’t know if I can do that. A Game of Thrones, Hyperion, Carrion Comfort, Dune, The Anubis Gates, A Fire Upon the Deep, Consider Phlebas, The City and the Stars, Time Enough for Love, Great Sky River, Wizard and Glass, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Wyvern, Assassin’s Apprentice, A Horse and His Boy, The Silmarillion, and many more.

*Fun fact about yourself?

Besides having written two novels, thirteen video games, founded four companies, etc., I’m also an incurable foodie and certified Sommelier / Italian wine specialist.

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Thanks so much for the interview! For more on Andy Gavin, visit his website here.