Thursday, July 30, 2015

Nicholas Tanek, Author of Chipped Black Nail Polish

chipped black nail polish, nicholas tanek, memoir, punk rock memoir, punk rock book, new jersey rock, fetish book

Today we are interviewing Nicholas Tanek about his coming-of-age memoir "Chipped Black Nail Polish."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Nicholas Tanek and I am an author in my late 30’s.  I used to be a punk rock New Jersey skater kid who got involved with the New York City rave scene during the 1990’s. I struggled with hardcore drug addiction. I am addicted to music. I am also somewhat involved in the BDSM fetish community. I wrote two books. The first book is titled The Coolest Way To Kill Yourself and the second book is a prequel titled Chipped Black Nail Polish.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
My new book is titled Chipped Black Nail Polish. It is a prequel to The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself. It is a true coming of age story that is a tribute to the very first love of my life, a punk rock girl named Kim. She was very wild and very troubled. We got involved in the New Jersey punk rock scene in 1989. It is a story about embracing your eccentricity and individuality.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

People who are eccentric and are far from the norm. People who embrace their individuality would appreciate this book. Also, people who really love music will, too.

 More than two decades after the events in your book, what inspired you to finally publish a work about your transformative experience with love in the late 1980s?
Good question. First, writing The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself was very cathartic for me and also very therapeutic. The response was also very positive and it changed my life. That gave me confidence to write Chipped Black Nail Polish. So, my editor, my street team, and my fans were very supportive. Another aspect was some of the people in the indie rock scene as well as the FOTs (Friends of Tom) from The Best Show with Tom Scharpling (http://thebestshow.net). There is a whole bunch of indie rock people out there who just love music. Mix all of those together and I got very nostalgic. I felt I had to tell this story, too.

 Did you learn anything new when writing the book and revisiting the past?
Yes. I learned how to be a better person. Writing about the past and reliving the mistakes taught me to examine my life. I examined what I did wrong and what other people did wrong. Learning from this, helped me moved forward. With all the drugs and crime that have been in my life, I still think I am a decent person. I can live life, spread love, make friends, and make people laugh.  Another main thing about writing about the past is being completely honest. My books are brutally honest about myself. I think people can relate to that. I am also unapologetic about my honesty. I write about sex, drugs, and crime in my life. So, for me, that is very freeing.

Music plays a big role in the story. Is music as important to you now as it was back then?
Music has been important to me for as long as I can remember. It is essential to everything I do.

Do you have a scene in the story that was your favorite to write?
In Chipped Black Nail Polish, I loved writing about going to the punk rock shows.  There is a scene where we see The Dead Milkmen and I like to think it captures the energy of the punk rock scene. Also, there is the party scene where all hell breaks loose.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Hunter S. Thompson and Truman Capote. I do like when writers put themselves in the story.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
Since the stories are true, I know the whole story.  So, I have it in my head from beginning to end. Then, I just write, write, and write. Then, we edit, edit, and edit more. I cannot stress how important it is to edit with someone. When my editor and I edit, we make it fun. Although the task takes a tremendous amount of effort, we do not make it feel like work. Then, I have to deal with the publishing company. That can be annoying sometimes because publishing companies are all about business. I have to approve everything from the covers to the style. Then, it comes out.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I love them and hate them. Chipped Black Nail Polish uses physical media like records and books as a metaphor. Physical media is dying and that means the charm of holding a piece of art in your hand is dying. That’s sad. When I get a record, I like holding it in my hand, looking at the cover, and reading the liner notes. I would always rather hold a physical book in my hand. I sell more eBooks than physical books, but I personally do not think eBooks are as cool as physical books. What is cool about eBooks is that my work can reach many people all over the world. If it were not for the eBook, I would not have my little following.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
Write more books. I want to help other artists be creative. I would love to write for television or film, too.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

I love the writing process. The publishing aspect can be annoying.  There is some tension in the indie author community between authors, but I don’t get involved with that. I just do my thing and keep positive.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
My next project is the sequel to The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself. After the love of my life died, I threw myself into the NJ/NY BDSM fetish community. It’s not a love story, but it is a tribute to the wild and kinky people who helped me cope with my grief. There is a huge amount of sexuality in this new project. Many authors write about the BDSM fetish community being dark and dangerous. Sure, it can be, but many of the people there are fun and just very sexual. It’s kind of like a big underground party spread out over cities. I’m trying to capture that. At the same time, the book will be a very funny book about dealing with loss and grief.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I think my books are unique and original. I am proud of that. My books are all true. I just change some names and label them fiction. Yeah… fiction…sure.

Book blurb for "Chipped Black Nail Polish":
In New Jersey during the summer of 1989, an awkward thirteen-year-old who was obsessed with weird music fell head-over-heels in love with the coolest post-punk rock girl he had ever met.

Nicholas was insecure. He was a daydreamer, wishing for romance when he was told, over and over, that he could not have it. He was a toy, pulled and pushed, wanted and used, dragged along yet held at a distance. Nicholas fell in with the out crowd, and loved every minute of it. He fell in love and got left behind, but not before she changed him forever.

This is an irrational, emotional love story for the teenager inside all of us.

The music is loud, and you're about to be pushed into the pit.
Buy "Chipped Black Nail Polish" on Amazon

Book blurb for "The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself":

The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself pulls you into the early 90’s New York City rave scene, in all its chaotic, psychedelic glory. The narrator grabs you by your wrist and drags you behind two teenage lovers from New Jersey as they tumble through a whirlwind of reckless hedonism that eventually spirals into a dark, devastating world of drug addiction and heartbreak.

As a teenager, Lynn cried, “No one is ever going to write something for me.”

Nearly two decades later, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Nicholas did just that. The gesture came too late for our unlikely heroine, but his heart was in the right place. A broken heart… but a true love.

Reunited after years apart, Lynn and Nicholas embraced their love and sexuality, and embraced each other, despite troubled pasts, despite illness, despite all of their imperfections and mistakes. They shared the kind of honest and shameless connection that few have had the honor of knowing, and most would never understand.

“We’re not hurting anyone. We’re just living life without caring what anyone thinks about us, without caring about the consequences.”

“It’s the coolest way to kill ourselves,” Lynn said.

So turn the page, and pull the trigger. 
  Buy "The Coolest Way to Kill Yourself" on Amazon
Connect With Nicolas Tanek
Like Nicholas Tanek on Facebook
Follow Nicholas Tanek on Twitter

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tom Myers, Author of Deja Vu Boy

suspense novel, the deja vu boy, tom myers, tom myers author, murderer novel, thrills and action, action and romance novel, historical adventure,
Today we are interviewing Tom Myers about his literary/suspense novel "Deja Vu Boy."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Traveling the world in the US Air Force during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the war in Vietnam meant landing in many exciting locales--some great, some not, and some almost too exotic to survive.

I used the GI Bill to graduate from university with a degree in English and History.

Following graduation, and as always looking for excitement, I moved to Tehran, Iran to work as an analyst focused on the Middle East. When the Shah of Iran's flag started to droop, I returned to the United States to find employment with a major international air carrier. That led to much more travel and enough excitement to satisfy me.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
The plot starts when a boy "awakens" to find that he doesn't know where he is, who he is, where he came from, or any other important information about his life. This story is told when the boy has become a man—not just any man—but one who thinks he's 150 years old. He knows that he has killed a large number of very bad people throughout his long life, starting shortly after he awakens. He doesn't understand why he feels obligated to rid the world of bad people, only that he does. He knows, too, that he has done the same thing in past lives. Now, even though he is old and tired, he has to try to do it one final time before an innocent person is murdered by the bad people standing before him.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Readers who enjoy suspenseful stories with thrills, action, and romance, with a bit of off-kilter historical adventure.

What inspired you to write a book about a self-proclaimed 150-year-old man with a case of deja vu that involves murder and saving lives?
From reading about several people who lived extraordinarily long lives and the many things they encountered. My great grandfather was one of those people who lived for over one hundred years and he had many tales to tell.

Tell us a bit about the protagonists, Henry and Spangle.
Although Henry can't recall much of anything about who he truly is, he shrugs off the mysteries in his life and tries to live a life that helps himself and other people—especially those who are about to become victims.

Spangle is a rich young woman raised by a sinister grandmother. She wants to become a writer and Henry has agreed to let her interview him about his long life, and the many people he has killed. She is morbidly fascinated by his extremely strange life—and more than a little leery of him, but also feels a certain kinship that she can't explain.

Henry, although he cannot remember much about his alleged 150 years of life, says he managed to kill a large number of very bad people. Without giving too much away, what does Henry remember about these killings?

Henry doesn't remember anything before he "awakened" but he has a vivid memory of each and every killing—the who, the why, and the when. He retains every detail, even though some of the killings took place over a hundred years earlier.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Henry, without a doubt. He's kind, resourceful, loving, very humorous, not a mean-spirited person even when provoked, but he's not someone a sane person wants for an enemy.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Too many authors, from Ray Bradbury to Barbara Kingsolver to Annie Dillard to Barry Eisler, all have made significant impressions on me in the way they structure their writings and select their words.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
I write in a journal most every day—just doodling, mostly. But that's when my best ideas appear and I jot them down and later come back to expand on or discard them. I spend a great deal of time on character development, more than any other aspect of writing. The actual stories (plots) grow all on their own. Then I rewrite and edit, over and over until the story is as polished as I can make it.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

I'm such a big fan of ebooks that I have decided to only publish for ebooks and stop writing for print. To me, it seems wasteful to print hardcopies of books when electronic copies are so economical and handy to produce.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
My primary goal is to keep writing. Stopping doesn't compute for me.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
No. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of the entire process, even rewriting. When I first started I had an agent, and I soon became very tired of all the opinions and other input from publishers who were only concerned with their own interests—never mine. Self publishing made my life much better.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

It's already in progress. It concerns the sad state of our planet, the hyenas that inhabit our political system, and a certain teenage girl from another planet who wants to rescue us before Earth implodes.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Yes, I think readers will be surprised to learn that even a person who has killed a large number of (bad) people has so much pure humanity in them.

More Information

Buy "The Deja Vu Boy" on Amazon 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Larry Mickelson, Author of The Mystique of Love Unveiled How to Take Control of Your Love Life

Love, Falling in love, Falling out of love, Heartbreak, Divorce, Emotions, control your love life, larry mickelson, how to fall in love

Today we are interviewing Larry Mickelson about his book "The Mystique of Love Unveiled How to Take Control of Your Love Life."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mostly semi- retired now. I still give recommendations about financial decisions. I have owned a number businesses, been involved in politics and taught high school psychology for several years.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.
There is a phenomenal amount of confusion about just exactly what love is, especially in romantic relationships. There is so much confusion, men and women alike end up marrying people they don’t even like. That is possible because they think they are in love. It’s a puzzling phenomenon, but the book tackles the issues head-on and reaches conclusions that are quite different. There is even a seven step formula describing how people fall in love.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
The book was written to appeal to everybody who’s ever been in love, wants to be in love and/or has suffered personal, financial and emotional consequences as a result of having been in love.

What inspired you to write a book about the nature of human emotion?
Not only are my views about love unusual but my entire perspective on what makes up human emotions is quite unusual also.

Love, Falling in love, Falling out of love, Heartbreak, Divorce, Emotions, control your love life, larry mickelson, how to fall in love
Author Larry Mickelson.

Your book is described as iconoclastic. Why is this the case?
It’s iconoclastic because it doesn’t follow the popular prescriptions about love. It’s a totally new organized perspective.

What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about human emotion?
They think we wouldn’t be human without motion. I deal with that idea quite extensively in the screenplay based on the same concepts as the book. It’s a fun way to look at emotions from a different perspective.

What was the process of writing this book like?
It’s the most frustrating thing I’ve ever experienced, not so much the writing or the creation of the concepts but the part involving getting people to read it, a nonfiction book.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?
I created an all new genre of feelings I call emotings. There are four main reasons why all of us use the phrase; I love you. Emotings expose a fifth time. I like to believe no one else has ever pinpointed and exposed the subtle nature and consequential influence emotings have on our lives.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?

Assuming they seriously read it and contemplate the concepts, they will never again see love in the old-fashioned ways again which will give them power over previously misunderstood emotions and feelings. It should be helpful in all relationships.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

I’m pecking away at a book about discipline for children. I have even chose somewhat of the title, namely: 30 seconds to absolute control, Why spanking is never necessary.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

Yes! It is not only serious but it is also entertaining. It has some of the best jokes you can possibly imagine thrown in between chapters. That keeps it light.

More Information

Buy "The Mystique of Love Unveiled' on Amazon

Piper Lawson, Author of Schooled (Book 1 of the Travesty series)

new adult, college, contemporary, sexy, contemporary romance, schooled travesty, travesty book, piper lawson, piper lawson author, smart sassy characters, book boyfriend,

Today we are interviewing Piper Lawson about her new adult/contemporary romance novel, "Schooled" (Book 1 of the Travesty series).

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a new writer and long-time romance novel devourer! I particularly love new adult and college-type romances, because they’re such coming-of-age stories. Though my background is in economics, writing is my REAL passion. This particular story, Schooled, has been burning in the back of my mind for a couple of years and I finally needed to get it out!

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Readers who like smart, sassy characters. A lot of romance novels - even contemporary ones - feature damsels in distress. I love strong heroines who aren’t afraid to say what they want.

Tell us a bit about the protagonists, Alexis Caine and Dylan Cameron.
Lex is stubborn - sometimes too stubborn - and thinks she has everything right. Dylan’s trickier because we don’t know all his secrets. We think he’s one thing, then find out it’s not that simple. They’re both surprised by what springs up between them, and at a loss for what to do about it. This book’s about how they deal with that.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Dylan. So many readers have said Dylan is their fave book boyfriend. He’s mine too :) I think the reason they like him is that he’s almost an anti-hero - he’s not the typical alpha male, or sports star, or guy from the wrong side of the tracks. Dylan has so many sides. It keeps you - and me! - guessing where his head’s at.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
So many. Ilsa Madden-Mills, Abbi Glines, Samantha Young, Jay Crownover. Colleen Hoover is masterful - she could wring emotion from a rock. My favourite is probably the writing duo of Christina Lauren. Their Beautiful Bastard series was a big part of why I decided to write.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

The second book of Travesty, Stripped (Ava’s story!) is due out in September. I’m partway through a third book that’s unrelated - but I’m excited to share it with the world this fall…

An excerpt from "Schooled":

The light brush of his lips was fleeting. I’d intended only to assess, but my eyes fluttered closed at the first touch. His mouth was just the right mix of hard and soft. A tingling lasted for seconds after his lips left mine, then faded into nothing at all. 
I felt strangely exposed until Dylan’s mouth came back. This time it was firmer, lingering. His lips brushed. And they clung.  
My eyebrows rose in surprise as little sparks ignited in my brain, pinpricks rising along my arms. Dylan’s mouth moved over mine, still slowly, but more deliberately by the second. 
The kiss was deceivingly casual, like Dylan himself—smooth on the surface with an edge lurking just underneath. It struck me suddenly that he was right: I didn’t know him at all, and it might be more than a little bit dangerous to assume I did. 
His lips slanted over mine, coaxing, his mouth asking for things that couldn’t be put into words. It felt like he wanted my permission to explore, to savor. I wanted to let him do that and more, and the realization shook me. I sucked in a breath, having to consciously will my hands to stay at my sides. 
After a moment, or five, he pulled back and I did too. 
Well damn. It was going to take me a moment to regroup—from his kiss and from my reaction to it. I blinked, trying to focus my gaze on the denim that stretched over his knee until my eyes uncrossed enough to meet his gaze. Our knees were still touching. 
Whoever had told him he didn’t have any moves was sadly mistaken. Part of me wanted desperately to see his eyes, but I didn’t trust myself to look up quite yet, though I could feel his eyes on me. “Well.” Was that my voice? I cleared my throat. “That was—” 
My words were cut off as I felt fingertips on the back of my neck, searing my skin as he pulled my mouth back to his.  
That’s when Dylan Cameron really kissed me. 
More Information
Buy "Schooled" on Amazon
Visit Piper Lawson's website
Follow Piper Lawson on Twitter
Like Piper Lawson on Facebook

Thursday, July 23, 2015

John Ploskina, Author of The Far Unlit Unknown

science fiction, sci-fi, action, adventure, eccentric detective, mismatched couple, multiverse, mad scientist, young adult sci-fi novel, john ploskina, far unlit unknown

Today we are interviewing John Ploskina, author of the young adult sci-fi novel "The Far Unlit Unknown."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a world traveling adventurer, author, arachnid enthusiast, engineer, and one of the few people to both sing in death metal bands and teach kindergarten. 

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Nathan, a maladjusted class clown and Cello, the school’s top student, investigate the disappearance of their history teacher.  Instead they find a tear in the fabric of Space-Time that opens to the universe next-door. 

Lost in the multiverse, alone with no weapons and few supplies, they are drawn into the machinations of a mad scientist who won’t hesitate to destroy entire universes in his plan to build a “perfect world.”

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone who ever sat in class, stared out the window and lost themselves in dreams of adventure and romance.

What inspired you to write a novel about two students who must venture through the Multiverse to rescue their teacher?
When I was in school I was chronically bored, and books were like little glimpses into other worlds that were more vibrant and interesting than the real one.  I often wished I could crawl into them and get lost.  The premise of Perfecting Reality is just around the corner from there.

science fiction, sci-fi, action, adventure, eccentric detective, mismatched couple, multiverse, mad scientist, young adult sci-fi novel, john ploskina, far unlit unknown
Author John Ploskina.

In your book, the characters get lost in the Multiverse. For people not really familiar with the term, can you explain what Multiverse means?

A multiverse is a set of universes that exist simultaneously.  Some scientists believe that our universe is one small piece of a multiverse, and different types of multiverses are described by different schools of thought within theoretical physics.

Perfecting Reality is inspired by the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, or MWI.  It’s far too much material to explain here, but if you Google for “MWI Quantum Mechanics” there are lots of interesting articles out there.  Or, if you’re so inclined, Cello briefly covers the key concepts in The Far Unlit Unknown.

That said, I don’t think you need to be into the hard science aspect of MWI to enjoy the story.  MWI is a canvas.  You can skip those parts and just enjoy the ride.

Have you always been interested in physics and the universe? Or did your interest develop as you wrote this book?

I’ve been interested in physics, especially theoretical physics, since I was a kid.  However, I want to be clear that the multiverse presented in Perfecting Reality is not a representation of a scientifically accurate multiverse.  I use the multiverse is a metaphor for the infinite variety and potential of human life.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Cello is my attempt to put an Agatha Christie-esque detective into a unique context.  Cozy mysteries are my comfort genre.  I read a lot of Rex Stout when I’m in a bad mood, and the Eccentric Genius Detective is my favorite archetype.  It was fun to take that kind of character, drop her into a sci-fi novel, and see how she copes with it.  I deeply enjoy writing scenes where her personality clashes with Nathan.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
In no particular order: J.K. Rowling, Ayn Rand, Stephen King, Agatha Christie, H.P. Lovecraft and Rex Stout.  They write stories that keep me reading into the night, frantically turning pages even as my eyes ache and the piercing shriek of the alarm clock looms.  They also use language in unique ways. 

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
At all times, my brain involuntarily vomits up premises for novels and characters.  In the heat of the moment, everything seems like it might be good.  I carefully sort the complete nonsense from the ideas that may have promise. 

I have a lot of false starts.  I’ll write a few chapters and then forget about the idea, or suddenly realize that it’s stupid.  The stories that get finished are the ones that stick with me and don’t fall apart when the real work gets under way. 

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I’m just happy to see people reading. 

Personally, I resisted ebooks for a long time.  I love the feel and smell of a real book in my hands.  Physical books have a presence and a personality all their own.  I’m only truly comfortable in a room full of books.  Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a used novel from somewhere and find hand written notes in the margins.  It’s like sharing the book with a total stranger.

I finally grew to love ebooks last year.  It was the Kindle app on my phone that brought me around.  The book is always there, ready to go.  I now read books at red lights and in line at the grocery store.  How cool is that?  I read a lot of non-fiction that way, because it’s easy to highlight and return to specific passages.  For fiction, I still prefer paper.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
To put so much entertaining and thought provoking content out there that I’m unanimously elected supreme ruler of Earth. 

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
All the not writing.  Nothing’s worse than the time you have to spend not writing.  Sleeping, eating, hygiene, maintaining the facade of a productive member of society…  All time that could be better spent writing.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I’m hoping to publish my next book before the end of the year.  It’s a horror novel for adults.  After that, I’ll be returning to the Perfecting Reality universe… but maybe not in the way you’d expect…

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I can’t promise you that it will bring meaning and purpose to your existence, but I won’t rule out the possibility. 

An excerpt from "The Far Unlit Unknown":
    Nathan checked his watch again.  The Librarian would be back in about four minutes.  Plenty of time.
    The library was empty and quiet.
    He made his way to the back room, the Librarian’s personal office.  Everything was neatly arranged on and around a small desk, and Nathan could hardly stand it.  He wanted to knock it all over and spoil it, but he resisted the urge.
    On the far edge of the desk a DVD player was wired to a carefully organized mass of cables that ran into a panel set in the floor.  Nathan pressed the eject button.  Inside the disk tray was a DVD-R with today’s date written in black.  It was the same brand, model and color as the one he’d prepared and smuggled in.  He pulled a permanent marker out of the pencil holder on the Librarian's desk, set the two DVD-Rs side by side and carefully forged the date on his blank one.  The Librarian's “4” was tricky, but he regularly practiced imitating all the teacher's handwriting.  When he was finished it looked perfect.
    Even if they checked, no one would know it was a fake until it was too late.
    He placed his DVD-R in the tray, closed it, put the original between the pages of his math book and walked casually out of the office as if he had every right to be there.
    That was when he noticed that the library wasn't empty after all.
    A small girl was sitting at a table by herself in the corner, staring at him through enormous glasses over a book as thick as any dictionary.  She was pretty in a plain sort of way, with ashy grey skin and an elfish face.  Wild hair, black as the void of space, was dangling down around her shoulders.   Her intense eyes, magnified by the lenses in her glasses, drilled into him.  It felt like she was staring directly into his brain.
    Nathan had seen her in the hall but had never spoken to her.  Word going around was that she was some kind of genius with top marks in every subject, but that she was a total oddball.
    “What did you see?” he asked her.
    “Nothing,” said the girl.  She shrugged, and the corners of her mouth curled up, ever so slightly, into something that only hinted at a smile.  Her eyes drifted back to the pages of the book.  “Nothing at all.”
    “You are a smart girl,” Nathan said, and walked out of the library.
Book trailer for "The Far Unlit Unknown":

More Information

Buy "The Far Unlit Unknown" on Amazon
Visit John Ploskina's website

Like John Ploskina on Facebook
Follow John Ploskina on Twitter

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Vic Mills, Author of Island of the Phoenix

WWII, South Pacific, fighter pilots, Army Air Corps, fighter pilots book, army air corps book, south pacific novel, wwII pilot novel, island of the phoenix, vic mills
Today we are interviewing Vic Mills, author of the historical fiction novel "Island of the Phoenix."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Prior to taking up writing, music was always my passion, clear back from when I was in high school. I still compose music and play in a band in my spare time, but from 1996 writing has taken a front seat. That is when I began working on my first novel, an autobiographical story of my experience in the Army.  My work for the last 35 years has been in the car business – consulting, and assisting clients to find and obtain vehicles that meet their needs.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.  
A pilot crash lands on an island behind enemy lines in the Pacific theater during World War II, and falls in with five other marooned Americans. Together they struggle not only to survive, but to help the allied forces turn the tide of the war.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
The story is appropriate for audiences from young adult and up.  It has received great reviews from men and women, and from both veterans and non-veterans.

What inspired you to write a novel about a pilot marooned on an island behind enemy lines in the Pacific theater during World War II?
I wanted to tell a story that was based on little known history, and also to highlight the heroism of everyday GIs who have served in wartime.

Tell us a bit about the main character, Captain Michael Hollands.
By his early 20s, college graduate Michael Hollands of the United States Army Air Corps, is already a combat-hardened pilot, but that has not taken away his respect for humanity or his high ethical standards. He is a natural leader who thinks beyond the norm.

Did your time in the Army influence how you wrote this story?
As a former Army MP who served in Vietnam, I wrote from personal experience of the inhumanity of war and the great compassion of the human spirit.  Because much of the materiel we were supplied was actually from the 1930s and 40s, I could write from first-hand knowledge about many of the weapons used during the time in which this story was set.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
As a teen I really enjoyed reading "Johnny Tremain" by Esther Forbes. The history of it appealed to me, and I have always enjoyed story-telling.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.
Before I start writing, I generally have the whole story pretty much in thought, but I am often surprised by what my characters do as the story progresses! Occasionally I will mentally rewind a section of the manuscript as if it is a movie, and rewrite it to see how it plays out. 

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of e-books?
I have never read one myself. I prefer to have an actual book in my hands.
On the other hand I know it makes more titles accessible to people.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I plan to continue writing. I love doing it!

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I already have a sequel to "Island of the Phoenix" in the works, along with a short story about WWII aircraft.  Currently I am working on a western set in the late 1800’s.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I hope they inspire people to write!  I never imagined that I would become an author.

More Information

Visit Vic Mills' website
Buy "Island of the Phoenix" at Amazon
Buy "Island of the Phoenix" at Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amanda Gibbs, Author of Making It

making it, romantic short story, debut romantic story, love story that lasts, poetic short story, amanda gibbs, amanda gibbs author

As part of the "Making It" blog tour, we're interviewing Amanda Gibbs about her debut contemporary romance short story.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hmm…well, my name is Amanda Gibbs, and I’m an 18-year-old author from Toronto, Canada.  My passions are writing, photography, and travelling.  I’m also a MMA fighter, which is something I would love to include in my next book (definitely need more kick ass girls in the media).  As for school, I’ll be going into neuroscience, which is a little left field from creative writing, but I like to keep myself on my toes.  Other than that, you can figure out most things about me from my book :)

Describe the plot of your new short story in a few sentences. 

Making It is a poetic short story that documents a couple’s relationship, from first meeting through marriage.  It’s told through dialogue, letters and poems, allowing the reader to experience Him and Her in multiple literary forms.  Making It is a love story that lasts.

Who do you think would most appreciate this story? 

I think anyone that’s tired of cheesy Harlequin romances with overly contrived dialogue would find Making It a breath of fresh air.  I kept Making It as genuine and real as possible, and I hope readers appreciate that.

 What inspired you to write a short story about the trajectory of a couple’s life? 

The trajectory element came from watching a few too many romantic comedies.  They always got together in the end, had a big romantic make-out sesh…but then what happens?  I wanted to explore after the rom-com ends.  I wanted to explore when things get interesting.

Your story is unique in that it takes place during a 30-year span. Why did you decide to use this length of time?
My mother has always told me that it takes at least a year to get to know someone enough to really love them.  A year to see them through their best, their worst, and everywhere in between.  I figure if one year is good enough to say “I love you”, thirty years is good enough to say all the reasons why.

In “Making It,” you use prose, poetry, dialogue, lists, and vignettes to tell the story. Have you always been interested in telling stories with different approaches, or is this something that you’ve become more interested in recently?

When I began writing, it was always in the first person within the confines of my journal.  I was good at this, and comfortable with it.  I also believe that you should never get too comfortable in your successes enough that you cease to grow.  So with Making It, I wanted to get out of that comfort zone and challenge myself with new literary forms.  That challenge ended up being the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing, and helped my growth and enjoyment tremendously.  I also find that different forms give different perspective, and help different people see situations in a new light, and I love that.  I love helping readers discover things about my work that they may not have known was there with constant prose.
amanda gibbs, romantic story author
Author Amanda Gibbs.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Michael Faudet has definitely inspired my writing.  He’s so raw, and strips his work down to exactly what it should be… I love that.  Dirty Pretty Things was my favourite book this year, and I’m so happy he finally published it.  The Lover’s Dictionary was another book that inspired my writing, which everyone who enjoyed Making It should read.  Even if you didn’t enjoy it, read it, I promise it’s much better (haha).

How long have you been writing?

My first memory writing was probably second grade.  Whenever we got assignments, I would write so long I always finished my stories with “To Be Continued”.  Even then, I never wanted the world in my head to end.  Now, it doesn’t have to.

Who was your favorite character to write?

He was probably my favourite to write over Her, because He often surprised me.  I knew everything about Her, she practically is me, but Him…he played out like a movie in my head that I had never seen before.  There isn’t as much about Him as Her in Making It, but what’s there is crucial.  Who knows, there might be an edition from his point of view coming sometime soon…

What do you like about the short story format?

As a writer, the short story format forced me to get rid of everything that wasn’t necessary, and I think that’s an extremely important process for any writer at any length of work.  Whether it was whole chapters or single words, omitting needless information is a key writing tool that improved Making It tenfold. As a reader, the short story format makes Making It more accessible and less daunting to read because of the length.  It also gives you just the “juicy” parts, dare I say so myself.  Every time the reader turns the page, they get something new and crucial to the entire story.  I love that.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started? 

I’m much less self -indulgent.  I think all creative people are to a degree, it’s the nature of our beings, but it’s about polishing that into a piece that is accessible to a further audience than just you.  When I started, the first draft looked almost identical to the last.  Now, they’re like distant cousins.  Still have the same eyes or smile, but they speak differently. I think for me, the key is to write the first draft just for me, with the “door closed”, but make the next draft is for a wider and wider audience until it’s ready for the whole world.

Outside of literature, from where do you draw you inspiration?

For me, it’s important that I go about living my life as often as I’m at a coffee shop writing. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it’s important to fill that creative well with things to draw from constantly.  Sitting on a patio watching the world go by is a favourite of mine, and never ceases to give me new ideas.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

That’s tough.  On one hand, as a reader, I love the affordability and convenience of my kindle.  But, as a writer, I miss the feeling of a hardcopy book in my hand.  Maybe that’s a little old school, but I hope they make a fierce comeback.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

I only have one main goal as a writer, and that’s to write the truth.  Whether in fiction or not, I always strive to tell stories in a real way, with real emotions, and real, flawed people.  For me, that’s been the key to my writing happiness.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

The business part.  The marketing.  I love talking to readers and meeting other book loving people, but the financial business aspect drives me crazy.  I would much rather spend all my time writing and talking to people, but I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I have a million ideas in my head all the time, but I would love to in the future write a LGBTQ love story.  I identify as such, and think it is so important that non traditional male/female love stories get the representation they deserve.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your story?

I’d like them to know that they shouldn’t expect perfect characters, or emotions, or reactions…because most of the time in life, these things never are.

More Information
Buy "Making It" on Amazon 
Follow the rest of the "Making It" blog tour
Like Amanda Gibbs on Facebook
Follow Amanda Gibbs on Twitter

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Don Holbrook, Author of The Next America: How to Survive and Thrive in Today's Unpredictable Economy

Rebuilding the American Dream, Economic Conditions, Economic Policy, Term Limit Government, fair taxation, economic prosperity, balanced budget, economic reform

Today we are interviewing Don Holbrook about his book, "The Next America: How to Survive and Thrive in Today's Unpredictable Economy."

On sale for 99 cents during July 2015 - click here to buy!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Don Holbrook is the Author of ten non-fiction books related to economic development and economic stimulus practices to stimulate American jobs and economic quality of life.  He spent 25 years as a CEO Level executive in the economic development industry and negotiator of major economic incentives to stimulate and rebuild local economies.

What drew you to the field of economics?

I wanted to use my formal training for something other than making money for people on Wall Street, so  I felt creating incentives that could put Americans back to work would be personally and professionally fulfilling. 

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

To educate people on how to understand what to advocate for with regard to government reform so that they know what needs to be fixed and why… Then to allow them have the knowledge to now know what will work better and why it is fundamentally important to all Americans.  The rebuilding of the American Dream can only occur using Capitalism, the more we move to liberal socialism the deeper problems we will be forced to endure.  Fixing our countries problems does not necessitate draconian changes but rather realistic changes that most Americans support.  Advocacy requires that all of us decide to be either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Anyone that is concerned about the future of our great nation and the very dysfunctional electoral system we have now allowed to be created.  In addition the book speaks to how normal people can both survive during these unpredictable economic times and also thrive financially on the knowledge that the book will enlighten them on with regard to their own households.

What inspired you to write a book about what people need to do to survive in today’s unpredictable economy?

Being home in my hometown of Dayton Ohio for my class reunion and hearing that nearly half of my high school class was now unemployed because of failed economic leadership and vision in my hometown.  I felt to sit back and not say something was simply wrong and would only allow these type of problems to continue and plague the hard working people of our country.

Do you think Americans are gaining more or less faith in the economy?
They have very little confidence in longterm economic security and for the first time they feel less optimistic about their own economic future than their parents generation… what this shows me is the very fabric of our great nation built upon the confidence of our people in themselves is shattered.  People are holding on and surviving on precarious means of making money and are very untrusting of government.  They feel sold out, they feel that government only listens to corporate donors and no longer is in touch with them as taxpayers.  The worst situation is that they feel helpless to actually do anything about it.  If we allow this current unresponsive relationship to continue our nation will lose any hope of restoring the American Dream and I believe will slide into a scenario of liberal socialism, which will be the death nail on our competitive capitalism dominance as an economic superpower.

How have economic problems abroad, such as the recent situation in Greece, impacted the average American’s perception of the attainability of the American Dream?
Most American’s don’t understand or know how a national meltdown would affect them so they really think of it more as bad media joke that they must listen to constantly.  They do not understand that the failure of that economy is just the tip of the iceberg of the domino effect of the next and then the next national economy going into failure.  This can create a severe hyperinflation outcome that will once again wipe out the economic system, just as most Americans are figuring out how to get a little bit of economic traction in the post 2008 great recession.  The result could be the tail end of the worst economic nightmare of this century.

What are some of the things that Americans should advocate for to get the nation back on a pattern of sustainable growth?
It all has to start with responsible government.  The only way to do that is to install term limits on all elected positions and then require a balanced budget coupled with a government that is made to live on it’s income and not future obligations that are unfulfillable.  The second biggest challenge is to abolish the IRS in favor of a modern tax code that incentivizes economic investment, job creation and entrepreneurial wealth creation.  By creating a flat and fair national, state and local sales tax and doing away with income taxes and property taxes, which came from the medieval ages.   A flat and fair consumption or sales tax would tax everyone on every transaction whether illegal, legal or just visitors.  Then using a flat payroll or workforce voucher system for the benefits we need that can regulated by the Feds but managed by the individual.  Creating a competitive system would create the largest economic boon since the industrial revolution.  The single greatest economic stimulus the US government could do to stimulate this economy is to abolish the IRS in favor of a fair, flat tax, because it would give us the most competitive tax code in the world and investments would flow here seeking such a lucrative and stabile economic climate.  This would stimulate jobs like never before.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
Without the knowledge of what is broke and how to fix it you cannot advocate for what you believe or want from our elected officials.  If you do not know what to stand for then you will remain confused and unaware of the profound problems we face and how they will harm you very soon yet again.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
Second book will be about how we can individually use this knowledge in the likely scenarios to get our own family and personal economic wealth back on track even if they refuse to make the changes that most Americans actually support.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
To be an American citizen is something most of us have just taken for granted.  If we do not learn how to get what we need from our government and the upper class continues to get richer and richer at the expense of the middle and lower class it will eventually lead to severe social upheaval and economic chaos.  You can only push people down for so long before a huge outcry occurs.  I believe the second revolutionary war could come about strictly because we have allowed our nation to slip away from what we all held as tenets of our own collective and individual greatness.

Book Trailer for "The Next America: How to Survive and Thrive in Today's Unpredictable Economy"

More Information
Visit Author Don Holbrook's website
Buy the book on Amazon

Saturday, July 18, 2015

T.C. Ricks, Author of Grenademan vs the Zombies

Grenademan, Zombies, Games of Chance, Fairies, Apocalypse, Humor, Superheroes, tc ricks, urban fantasy novel

Today we are interviewing T.C. Ricks, author of the urban fantasy novel "Grenademan vs the Zombies."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have a very varied background.  I started out getting an English degree but when I got back from Venezuela, thought I'd go into science.  That was...very hard, but I eventually go my bachelor's...in Microbiology, somehow and then proceeded to try and get my Masters. Didn't happen but I've been keeping the lights on since then as a  Project Manager/Business Analyst.  But the writing is where my passion is.  I started taking it seriously about 15 years ago, and started work on my first novel.  Then I eventually moved to this one and have done two since.  I enjoy a lot of things, including table top gaming, reading, writing, poetry, science, and exploration. My wife and I travel quite a bit and just recently moved from Charlotte, NC to Miami, Florida.

Describe the plot of “Grenademan vs the Zombies” in a few sentences.
It's really more a story about hubris and the smack gaming groups talk to each other about all the time, and what would happen if one of the more insane people in some groups could take it to the extreme they'd like to prove a point.  Grenademan and the Zombies are really forces around that, though it is a story of good vs evil.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

People who like both Super Heroes, Humor and Zombies.

What inspired you to write a novel about zombie apocalypse that is set in motion by a bet?

A bet.  My step father has a writer that he likes a lot that had close links to a publisher a few years back who put out an open call for Zombie stories.  My step dad wanted me to enter it, and while  I had a script for Grenademan, there weren't zombies in it.  Skip pitched the title to me, and I agreed to do it if he'd proof it.  He did, and at that point it kind of wrote itself.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Grenademan.

Grenademan is...unique.  He is insane, but more sane than you might think.  He's very smart, but his true power comes in that thumb tack on his helmet that looks ridiculous.  It's forged from the Golden Helmet of Mambrino, which only the mad can wear and wield.

Zombie fans will be delighted to learn there are a variety of different kinds of zombies in this novel. Can you tell us about the different kinds? Do you have a favorite?

There are seven different kinds.  I will save some as a surprise but my favorite are Snark Zombies, which are really a mental construct; an analogy to those people who wander through life on auto pilot.  Purists will love the actually dead dead zombies who are...you know.  Dead.  There are also blood zombies akin to the zombies of 28 Days Later.

There’s a fair amount of humor in this book. Has humor always been part of your writing? Or is it something that developed as your writing progressed?

I have always had a fair degree of humor in my writing but my first novel also took itself 'very seriously' and such.  The second novel had dark humor in it is as well but the characters in it are all assholes.  I'm not sure if either of them is salvageable to be honest.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Grenademan is, of course, my Mickey Mouse.  He's definitely my Hermione or Harry Dresden...my alter ego.  He is the most FUN to write, though to be honest? I think my favorite to write at this point might just be Ghost from Forever West.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

Terry Pratchet, Jim Butcher, Elizabeth Moon, Roger Zelazny, George R R Martin.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

Sure.  I start out by producing utter unreadable crap and getting friends and family members to have their eyes bleed, then rewrite many times, then get an editor, then rework it a lot more times, then proof it.  Though....was that what you meant?

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

In a novel the part between the beginning and the middle sucks.  A lot.

Outside of writing, you have a podcast, Tossing Grenades at Windmills. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Absolutely, I set it up to have SOME kind of an audience for my writing.  I read the fourth novel on it, and we've got some from this one.  I also have some short stories and poetry.  There were sound problems but we're fixing those.  Just got a new bumper which is really neat.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

The next literal project is a chapbook with my poetry as Emmit Other called Spiders in the Sugar Factory.  My fifth novel, “Forever West” is being proofed right now and will likely come out late this year or Early next year.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

Yes. I firmly deny that if you read it, it will give you super powers. It will not.  And please ask others to stop spreading rumors that it does.

"Grenademan vs the Zombies" book blurb:
Order and Chaos have fought their little chess matches on world after world, often coming to draw. so when Order found a new, and powerful champion in a n insane superhero, Chaos had to step up his game. And he found it in an ambitious would be sorcerer called Jarvi who had bet his gaming group t hat they could not survive the Zombie Apocalypse and really MEANT it. now Jarvi would start an apocalypse just to prove them wrong.

And somehow, Grenademan had to stop it. While the Circle of Gamers regard him a insane, the government trying to kill him and his own sanity quite questionable, Grenademan has to keep four people alive while seven different kinds of zombies are trying to ill them.
More Information
Buy "Grenademan vs the Zombies" on Smashwords
The Tossing Grenades at Windmills podcast
Buy "Grenademan vs the Zombies" on Amazon

Check out the Tossing Grenades at Windmills podcast on Stitcher

Friday, July 17, 2015

John Williams, Author of Wormhole Moon

approachable scifi, sci-fi, john williams author, alien civilization, aliens book, astronaut fiction, earth alien alliance, wormhole moon

Today we are interviewing John Williams about his sci-fi novel, "Wormhole Moon."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a aviation professional by night and an author by day. I work on writing and promoting the ten books I have published so far. I love to interact with my readers and reading their comments. I am also in the process of completing a book publishing course, soon to be released.

Describe the plot of your book, “Wormhole Moon,” in a few sentences.

Two astronauts discover an alien civilization and their relationship is vital to developing an alliance with Earth. As a result, they share a key victory over an evil enemy of both worlds.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Its a Sci-fi book that will appeal to those who may not often read science fiction. Its born from a lot of great research and has many international locations. It will take the reader on a true literary rollercoaster ride.

What inspired you to write a novel about two astronauts who play a pivotal role in developing an alliance between Earth and an alien civilization?

I like the underdog. I like see a story were people who have a dream and are thrust into circumstances that would cause them to rise to the occasion of doing what would seem to most, impossible.

Tell us a bit about the two protagonists.

Steve Willory, Commander: A Naval Academy graduate a strait shooter but not ignorant of protocol and the ways things work. He's in his mid 50’s, married  to his wife Jean for 21 years, and has three girls. He's a team player and  focused on the mission. He has the ability to lead teams well but he likes to stay in the action. He's Mr. Dependable. He retired from the U.S. Navy after 30 years. He has a dream to become a statesman.

Deon Stryker, Major: Co-pilot, former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. At 31 years old, he is probably the youngest major, with a line number for Lieutenant Colonel, in the Air Force and certainly the youngest pilot in the program. He is also a martial art enthusiast, who is highly skilled with the Chinese Jian.

Did your experience in the aviation industry influence how you wrote the technologies in this book?

 Absolutely. As an FAA certificated Aircraft Mechanic and former Air Force Flight Engineer, I am very familiar with cockpit procedures and the technical aspects of aviation. I also have been always fascinated with space and space travel. The combination of these skillets enabled me to add the kind of detail a novice to aviation could not.

One of the unique things about your sci-fi novel is that it is very approachable, even for non-sci-fi readers. What steps did you take to make the book so approachable?

Having read a number of science fiction novels myself, I could understand why a non sci-fi reader could be frustrated with the genre, so I began with the end in mind. I effort to add enough tech jargon to satisfy savvy readers, yet briefly explain the same to those who were not for better reading clarity.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

Sure, Tom Clancey, Frank Peretti and John Nace to name a few.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

I use an outline to navigate the story to an expected end. It keeps me on road and helps me with story continuity, especially when writing a series. I start with bullet points at high-level. I then break them down into smaller pieces and create chapters. This is where I flesh out the story characters, etc. At the same time, I create what I call a “Character Matrix & Glossary.” This lists all of the characters, their description, roles and responsibilities and miscellaneous assorted information, quirks, habits, etc. The “Glossary” contains specific alien words and names. Again, this help immensely with continuity from book one to book three an beyond. Once finished, I read the text probably 30-40 times before giving it to my editor.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

I love it. I try to carry a book with me. With the onset of ebooks, I can carry one hundred or more.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

First, I want to become a full-time author. I would also like to develop more sci-fi stories. Finally, I would like to license my books for film. That would be very exciting for me indeed.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

Not really. The writing is the fun part. Its the promotion of the book and such that takes more of my time than anything else. If I’m to sell books, it comes with the territory.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I’m currently entering chapter three of “Wormhole Moon II.” It’s looking like an great sequel to the first book. I have planned three books so far. Once the last book is completed. I will likely refocus on the book publishing course that I started on before the “Wormhole Moon” series. I explain the process that I use to publish books, and get traffic to them.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

The book is very entertaining and a pleasure to read. It is the first book of three so look for the second one to come out mid to late next year. Additionally, readers may influence the direction, or some of the character storylines of the second book if they send me their comments to: info@wormholemoon.com.

An excerpt from "Wormhole Moon":

As they approached the great building, a crowd of aliens who seemed very excited had gathered in front. The entrance was magnificent. Colorful foliage adorned the building and doormen were posted in front like soldiers. The transport stopped and the door opened. Aioli exited and communicated with three other aliens who approached the vehicle as if they were expecting the arrival. She motioned to the astronauts to exit the transport and lead the way into the building.

As they entered the building, Aioli waved off the approaching hotel staff holding drinks, alien h’orderves, some which moved, and personally walked the astronauts through the entrance toward their new accommodations. As they walked through the enormous lobby, there were singers, musicians and dancers. The music was unlike anything they ever heard on Earth. The dancers would leap high into the air as if they were flying and gracefully land as if gravity had no meaning. Lights were streaming through the air back and forth like luminescent liquid and would change color and movement in relation to the music they played. Aliens would pause to look at the human astronauts as they were going about their business. Large alien birds with colorful translucent wings, would occasionally fly from one side of the great lobby to the other. It was quite a spectacle.

Very high walkways with no railings crossed the lobby and lead to other adjacent buildings. Aliens with elegant flowing robes and colorful attire where everywhere. They would pause and look at the strangers as they walked.

Aioli continued to walk confidently as if leading a parade and passed a bank of elevators of light and walked to a separate bank of two seemingly private elevators. The door opened and we all entered. As they arrived to the floor, they walked out into what seemed like an endless hallway with no doors.
More Information
Visit the "Wormhole Moon" website
Buy "Wormhole Moon" for Kindle
Buy "Wormhole Moon" in paperback

Kalynn Bayron, Author of Six Points of Light: Hook's Origin

Pan, Neverland, Pirates, Fairies, Origin Stories, kalynn bayron, six points of light, captain hook backstory, peter pan prequel, peter pan book, captain hook book

Today we are interviewing Kalynn Bayron, author of the young adult novel, "Six Points of Light: Hook's Origin."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. Lots of fishing and snowball fights. I love Alaska but the weather is tough! I still consider it home though. I live in Colorado now, with my husband and our kids. I am a huge Hozier fan and I listened to his album exclusively while I was writing Six Points of Light. I love music and actually studied Opera in college. I'm vegan and I am passionate about animal welfare.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Six Points of Light is the origin story of Captain James Hook. So many books and movies focus on Peter (there is a movie coming out soon that focuses on Peter's origins called "Pan") but I wanted to know more about Captain Hook.

James Cook is an orphan who has been living at St. Catherine's his entire life. He is sickly, but he is highly intelligent, a lover of books and he's extremely close with Sister Maddie. She raises him and he loves her like a mother.

Peter comes to St. Catherine's as a young boy and he and James do not see eye to eye. Peter is disruptive, loud, and a know-it-all. Sister Maddie asks James to take Peter under his wing and the two form a bond. They essentially become brothers. However, Peter is hiding a wealth of secrets that will test their friendship and ultimately set them on a path to become the most bitter of enemies.

We learn how James loses his hand, we learn how he came to have a hook in its place, and we learn his motivation for turning on Peter. I think readers will come away with a new understanding and appreciation for Captain Hook.
Author Kalynn Bayron.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone who loves fairytales will love this book! Also, anyone who loves origin stories will love it. There is a little bit of everything, mystery, romance, action, and even a few magical creatures!

What inspired you to write about the early life of Captain James Hook?

I have always been fascinated with the villains in fairytales. I have always wanted to know what made them so evil. It didn’t make sense that they would come into the world that way, there had to be a reason. I was watching Once Upon a Time one night in late 2013 and I was so enthralled with the stories of these characters. The show kind of goes back and shows you where they came from and what happened to them. I thought it was great but I wanted to know about the bad guys. After looking into it I couldn’t find anything that answered my questions so I decided to create the story myself.

In your novel, James and Peter, who ultimately become archenemies, start out as friends. What made you decide to take this approach to their characters?

I think we have all had experiences where we've had a falling out with a friend or family member. Those experiences are what inspired me to have James and Peter start out as friends. I knew that the level of betrayal experienced by James would have to be monumental, and the only way to achieve that was to have them be as close as brothers.

Other than Peter and James, are there any other characters readers will recognize in your book?

Wendy plays a pivotal role leading into Book 2 in the series. Tigerlilly makes an appearance, but I can assure you she is no damsel in distress. She is a warrior princess and the leader of her tribe.

Who was your favorite character to write?

James is my favorite. He is such a complicated character. I really had to put him through the ringer in order to show is true mettle. I love him. He's strong and smart, and he is loyal to a fault.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

I read allot. I love books. I have read so many that I am sure I've taken on some of the characteristics of my favorite authors but it's not a conscious decision to say "I'm going to write like this person." I just follow my characters wherever they take me.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

The idea had been floating around in my head for years. I decided to sit down and write it when my dad passed away. I realized that there was no point in putting it off for another day because tomorrow is not promised. I sat down and just started writing. I got about a third of the way through and I realized I had to scrap it and start over. I was writing two different story arcs and was going to have them converge at the end but it became too complicated so I separated the stories and found that I had two books in a series. It worked out well for me! I kept notebooks for each of my main characters with little tidbits about their personalities and physical appearances. I wrote through the first half of the book (after the initial revision) and then outlined the second half of the novel because I was all over the place. It helped me keep things on track and in line.

It took me over a year to write it and when I was done I went through two rounds of edits and revisions before having it edited by a professional. I ultimately decided to go with self-publishing because I wanted people to have access to my work but I understood how minute the chances of getting a publisher to pick up my story were. I'm definitely open to traditional publishing but self-publishing gave me so many options. After the final edit I put it on up Amazon, Smashwords and Kobo.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

I love that I can carry all of my favorite titles around on one device. It's convenient and eBooks are incredibly affordable. However, I'm also a fan of actual books. I love having the book in my hand and physically turning the pages. I love beautiful cover artwork. I love seeing the title on my shelf when I've finished reading it. Those things cannot be replicated with eBooks, but I'd be a fool not to realize that eBooks are the way of the future.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

I want to put my books in the hands of as many readers as possible! That is always my goal. I want to write engaging, interesting un-put-downable books for my readers because that is what they deserve. 

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

Editing is tough. It's hard because in my mind the story is complete. But making sure it's translated onto paper properly can be tough. It's a necessary part of the process. I'm thankful to have material to edit.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I'm working on part two in the Six Points of Light Series. It will pick up where Hook's Origin left off. I am also working on book two in the Zero Antigen Series and book two in the Drasal Lands series.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I love to write and my goal is to give my readers something to look forward to after every page turn. I hope I'm doing that! I'd also like to say thank you to anyone who took a chance on me and my writing because I'm just one indie author in a sea of talented authors. It means so much to me that someone would pick up my work and read it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

An excerpt from "Six Points of Light: Hook's Origin":
She fluttered up quickly and landed on top of one of the fallen clocks. She shook her wings violently dusting the clock with the glowing powder. The clock, still tick tocking in its housing, began to rise up, floating above the ground.  
James saw the creature draw back just slightly. It lunged forward, jaws gaping, and before James could scream, the floating clock flew into the alligator's open mouth. The creature stopped, a stunned look filled its beady black eyes. The clock was no longer visible in the monster's throat but James heard it ticking as it lunged forward again, catching James' right hand in its mouth, he heard a pop as the bones splintered like dry wood.

More Information