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Archive for April 7th, 2010

Gerald Costlow lives in Michigan surrounded by his Wife and dogs. During the past five years or so, his short fantasy stories have been published in various magazines, webzines, and anthologies. The Weaving is his first published novel but certainly not the last.

Welcome to the Dark Phantom Review. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?

The Weaving is a love story, a quest, and a struggle between good and evil. It takes place in a land of witches and wizards, gods and demons, humans and elves. Yet, it is a fantasy world just a little bit different from what you’d expect.

As for what inspired me to write it, I had an idea for a good witch who reads romance novels and wants her own Happily Ever After, and sets out on a quest to find her True Love. It started off as a short story, but several plot twists later became a novella, and finally I just said to heck with it and let the characters free to create the type of story I wanted to read and write.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I don’t outline beyond a list of ideas and scenes that might make it into the story. I take my characters, put them in the scene, start typing and see what happens. I consider my writing to be character driven, to the point of being like some actor’s improv session, with me playing all of the actors and the director.

Do you use index cards to plot your book?

I build the book chapter by chapter using individual files. I have a directory for the book filled with files named Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Ending, and so on. The file might contain only a couple of paragraphs with a general outline of what is going to be in the chapter, or it might be a completely written six thousand words. If I decide to add chapters, I just do some quick renaming. In the end, I do a paste and bring the scattered chapters together into one novel for several more edits.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Well, there have been times when I lacked the energy to write. If I grow tired of working on one story or feel less than inspired, I just put it aside and work on a different story. Then later on, I’ll be reading what I have and the muse will kick into gear and off I’ll go. I think writer’s block comes from trying to force yourself to work on only one story.

What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Writing. I’m a fast touch-typer, so I lose myself into a world of make-believe and constantly amaze myself with what ends up on the page.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you? Share with us some writing tips!

In my case, the best promotion seems to be reaching out to the potential audience on the web. For instance, my story can be defined by some readers as a crossover fantasy/romance. It’s not a steamy bodice ripper, but there’s a huge market for “paranormal romance” with websites and blogs and such and my book certainly qualifies as romantic. So I joined some groups, got to know some of the writers and reviewers, and found out where to post information about the book.

Writing tips? Don’t try to be another Tolkien or Rowling or Neil Gaiman or whomever you love to read. They do their thing better than you ever will. Find your own voice and style, and have fun writing the stories you want to tell.

Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?

Some sort of feedback is essential, or you won’t improve. I learned quite a bit from several online critique groups. I learned more from analyzing what other people were doing right and wrong than reading the critiques of my own work, though. I’m still learning.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

The best website for now is the author’s page at Pillhillpress.com. You will also find a link there to my personal webpage, where I link to several anthologies in print that contain a short story of mine.

Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?

Oh, yes, I have one novel I’m putting the final polish on, a comedy of errors. I have a novella length story I’m sending around right now. Already people who have read The Weaving are asking me when they’ll get a sequel. Well, if there’s enough interest in this book, then I’ll definitely give the people more.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

I hope you have as much fun reading The Weaving as I had writing it.

Thanks for the interview!

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