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Archive for July 1st, 2016

Thomas Rottinghaus became fascinated with the written word and the power of imagination at a very young age, reading virtually everything he could get his hands on by authors as diverse as Jules Verne, Louis La’Mour, JRR Tolkien and Stephen King. He went on to study literature and writing at Colorado Mesa University, formerly known as Mesa State College, before pursuing a career in agribusiness. His writing blends genres into an entertaining amalgam of fantasy, westerns, science fiction and adventure. He resides in a small town in Colorado with his wife, Lisa, a very energetic blue heeler named Jake and a herd of cats.

GraywullfQ: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Graywullf: Book One of the Dragonspawn Trilogy. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: Graywullf details the exploits of a group of gunslinging lawmen in a fantasy world called Norland. The lawmen, known as magii’ri Warriors, enforce the Code at the direction of the magii’ri Wizards, but the Warriors are unaware of the fact they are being used by some corrupt Wizards for their own gain. When that fact is revealed, Norland erupts in a Revolution. The Warriors enlist the aid of a dark Wizard, Lynch, who encourages them to create the Dragonspawn, a magical blend of a warrior and a Dragon.

Q: What do you think makes a good western/fantasy?  Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: A good western/fantasy must have larger than life characters, fantasy elements that blend seamlessly with the gritty action of a western and a suitable setting.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I knew from the beginning what was point A and what was point B, but Graywullf took a very different path getting there than I had envisioned when I first conceived the idea of the book.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: When I envisioned Lorn Graywullf, I imagined him in the same type of mold as the surly, silent characters played by Clint Eastwood in the so called spaghetti westerns.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: The antagonist was a combination of all of the truly bad qualities embodied by political leaders worldwide. To make him realistic I simply gave him human desires as the root cause of his actions.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: I like action, so I tried to keep the pace moving fast and keep the reader on his toes by throwing in some unexpected twists. I also tried not to let the story bog down with too much unnecessary dialogue. I let the actions of the characters carry the story forward.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I tried to write descriptions of the setting in a manner that transports the reader to that place.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: I knew the general theme of Graywullf from the beginning and yes, the theme of good versus evil is recurrent in my other work.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: Writing is a blend of craft and art from the beginning. Yes, restrictive editing can limit what a writer is trying to accomplish.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: Obviously, the ability to transfer the contents of your imagination to paper in a coherent form is probably the most important. That element of imagination is another, and persistence is also very important.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: I have to agree to a point. Research is homework, but the actual writing is an escape.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: Honestly, not yet. I attended a few workshops and met with a writer’s group but I’m too much of a realist to get much from groups like that. I prefer input from readers.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: The ability to write is a gift. Many people I speak with are in awe that the Dragonspawn series is over 1200 pages long, they simply can’t conceive that many words strung together. So if you can write, use it. Even if you never become famous or rich, there will always be people who appreciate that ability.

 

 

 

 

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INSIDE THE BOOK

 

Title: No Good Deed
Author: Auston Habershaw
Publisher: Harper Voyage Impulse
Pages: 303
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: Ecopy/Paperback

Cursed with a magic ring that forbids skullduggery, Tyvian Reldamar’s life of crime is sadly behind him. Now reduced to fencing moldy relics and wheedling favors from petty nobility, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any worse.

That is until he hears that his old nemesis, Myreon Alafarr, has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit and turned to stone in a penitentiary garden. Somebody is trying to get his attention, and that somebody is playing a very high-stakes game that will draw Tyvian and his friends back to the city of his birth and right under the noses of the Defenders he’s been dodging for so long. And that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that the person pulling all the strings is none other than the most powerful sorceress in the West: Lyrelle Reldamar.

Tyvian’s own mother.
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Delicious Disorientation

By Auston Habershaw

Science Fiction and Fantasy novels and stories aren’t for everybody. This isn’t a radical statement, I’m sure, but its significance or whole meaning is often obscured behind a fair amount of sneering and looking down one’s nose at the genre(s). If somebody comes to me and wants to read ‘good’ science fiction, I want to refer them to either William Gibson’s Neuromancer or Frank Herbert’s Dune (after stressing to them that there really isn’t much point to reading past the first one). The thing is, though, I don’t always do that. I ask them some questions, first, usually revolving around their inherent purpose in delving into scifi. “How complex do you want the story to be?” I’ll ask, or, “How good are you at figuring out exposition via context clues rather than text dumps?”

If I get blinks and stares to these questions, or guarded statements like ‘I don’t like crazy science stuff’ or ‘I don’t want to read something I need a degree to understand’, I back off from recommending my true favorites. I give them something more tuned to the general palate, like Russel’s The Sparrow or Childhood’s End by Clarke. This is not to say that these aren’t fine books (they are quite wonderful, each of them), but they aren’t the kind of sci-fi that really blows my mind. They aren’t the kind of thing that, once I start reading it, I can’t stop. They don’t suck me in.  Neuromancer does, every time I read it. The very first line sets me going: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

Gibson, in the first twenty pages of his novel, drowns you in the dismal streets and seedy bars of Chiba City as you watch Case stay one step ahead of Wage’s joeboys while strung out on drugs. The detail of the place is immersive, wonderful, powerful.  You do not, however, know exactly what’s going on. This isn’t your world, and Gibson isn’t holding your hand as you dive into it. You’re running behind Case, glancing at the scenery as you try to keep up. Gradually, though, you build a vocabulary. At some point, when somebody says ‘the Sprawl’, you know what they mean. When Case ‘punches the Hosaka’, you feel the ridges of the buttons under your fingers. You’re part of the world now. You know its rules, its conventions, its dark alleys. You’re as much a resident as Case is, perhaps more. That is, as much as anything else, the reason I read sci-fi and fantasy.

This, though, isn’t for everyone. When I was in grad school, I can’t tell you the number of times somebody gave me a distasteful look when I said I read and wrote scifi. It was as though I had belched at a volume that would rattle fillings and refused to apologize. I had a professor in a writing workshop who forbade the submission of works of science fiction or fantasy and, when I would bring up scifi novels in the course of class discussion, she would literally sneer at me and then pretend I hadn’t spoken. I kept bringing them up anyway, though, when discussion permitted. She gave me a B+ for the course (which is a pretty crappy grade in grad school, FYI).

Once, in another class and as part of our homework, we had to bring in a chapter of a novel we loved and distribute it to the class. I brought in the first chapter of Neuromancer.  When we came back the next class to discuss it, three or four people hadn’t read it and, therefore, didn’t contribute to the discussion. Their reasoning? “I don’t read scifi” or “I didn’t get it” or “It was boring.” As though the plodding, overwrought prose of their favorite litfic novelist was a blast for me. As though reading the first chapter of The Great Gatsby for the millionth time was somehow enlightening to me. As though the latest Jodi Picoult speaks to me because, you know, she writes mainstream fiction and, obviously, I should love it because that’s what books are. I was pissed at those individuals. It was a slap in my face, because there is no way one can read Neuromancer and say it’s poorly written. It isn’t – it’s brilliant.

The reason it doesn’t speak to those people, though, is that it asks the reader to do something other books don’t. It asks your forebearance. It commands you to be disoriented for the first ten or fifteen pages as you get your bearings. “This is an alien world,” it says, “so bear with it while you settle in.” That settling-in process is one of the things I love about the genre I call ‘home’. It can be done poorly, yes, but when it’s done well, there’s nothing quite like it. I mean, I admire Steinbeck and Hemingway as much as the next guy, and I’ll give my grudging appreciation to Toni Morrison and Jose Saramago (actually, no – I can’t stand his style. It’s like needles in my eyes), but they don’t take me anywhere new. I don’t get to hear the helium-giggle of Lonny Zone’s whores in the Chastubo while Ratz slides my Kirin across the bar with his Russian military surplus prosthetic arm. All I get is another scene from plain old planet Earth with plain old people doing the same plain old thing. Well done? Sure. Magical? Rarely.

Give me the Bene Gesserit administering the gom jabbar. Throw me into a book with a glossary twenty pages long. Don’t tell me another sad tale about some guy learning to find his way in a tough modern world. Give me Case, punching his Hosaka while coming down hard off a Beta high and watching his slick Chinese slow-virus get ever closer to the gleaming security ice of the Villa Straylight.

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Auston Habershaw is a science fiction and fantasy writer and author of The Saga of the Redeemed (part one to be released by Harper Voyager in February 2015). You can find links to his stuff through Amazon or Goodreads (see the links to your right!). He got second place in the Writers of the Future Contest in the first quarter of 2014 (Volume 31), so he presumably has some idea of what he’s doing (though not the *best* idea, obviously). He’s also an English professor, a pretty good storyteller, and a big time geek. This blog is for him to discuss and explore some of the crazy ideas that are usually kicking around in his head, throw out some of his homemade RPGs for people to use or see, advertise his budding writing career, and see just what this whole ‘blog’ thing is about. Enjoy!

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TOUR SCHEDULE

 Monday, June 20 – Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
Book featured at Voodoo Princess
Tuesday, June 21 – Guest blogging at Celebrate with a Book
Wednesday, June 22 – Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Thursday, June 23 – Book featured at A Title Wave
Book featured at The Review From Here
Friday, June 24 – Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
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Monday, June 27 – Guest blogging at Bookjunkie’s Book Blog
Book featured at Literal Exposure
Tuesday, June 28 – Book featured at Cover2Cover
Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Wednesday, June 29 – Book featured at Mello and June
Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, June 30 – Interviewed at Infinite House of Books
Book featured at Lover of Literature
Friday, July 1 – Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish
Book featured at Book Cover Junkie
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