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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

jonathanJonathan Raab is a veteran of the Afghanistan war, where he served as an infantryman assigned to a combat advisor team. He is the editor-in-chief of Muzzleland Press and an editor for the War Writers’ Campaign. His work has appeared in The New York Times’ At War Blog, CNN.com, the Military Success Network, Literati Presents, The Stars and Stripes, and many others. His second novel, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, will be available in late 2015. He lives in the Denver metro area with his wife Jess and their dog, Egon.

Connect with Jonathan Raab on the Web:

Website / Facebook /Twitter 

Q: Congratulations on the release of your book, Flight of the Blue Falcon. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

The novel is about three men who serve in an infantry platoon deployed to the Afghanistan War. It follows their training, their deployment, and a little bit of them coming home from it all. I wanted to tell the story of men serving in the Long War, especially from the National Guard perspective.

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

War writing tends to be nonfiction, but I think fiction is the best place to tell war stories. You can tell more truth that way. Every war is different; every war is the same. But every good war story should have good characters, be accessible to civilians, and tell something new (if possible) or true (as true as a story about war can be).

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

I tend to outline everything from the start, but that outline changes as I write. It’s a constant process of writing to catch up with the outline, and discovering that the plot is moving in new and unexpected directions.

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?

I have three protagonists in the novel, which is something I wouldn’t recommend to aspiring writers! Each character offered a unique perspective on the book’s events. They’re all based on guys I know, in whole or in part. A little bit of me is in each of them, too.

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

There’s no real antagonist. The Taliban is in this book, of course, but they’re not really the focus. This is more of a character study—how three men deal with going through the Big Green Army Machine.

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

I tend to write short, focused chapters. That helps the reader feel accomplished as they go—hey, I finished another chapter!—and so they keep reading. Each scene should communicate something new and important about your characters, the plot, or (preferably) both. If your scene doesn’t do that, cut it. Cut it right out.

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?

There’s several settings here—but the prevailing setting is that of the Army culture itself. The use of specific language, cultural tropes, and illustrative anecdotes or scenes helps to communicate that to an audience that may not have served in the military. Try to tell larger truths about the setting or culture in small, focused ways. For example, there’s a scene where our characters arrive in Afghanistan on a big command base. Instead of being greeted by enemy fire and soldiers around them ready for combat, they’re screamed at for minor uniform infractions. That scene tells a lot about the culture and the situation, and what’s to come for our characters.

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?

The broader theme is that war is stupid—on several levels. I knew that going in, and my characters and plot didn’t disappoint in that regard.

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

Editing should refine the creative thrust. If it compromises it, it’s not really editing, it’s revision. That said, authors need to know when to throw out those lines or scenes they really love—we can convince ourselves something is really good when it is in fact unnecessary or even distracting.

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

1) The novelist finishes a novel. 2) The novelist is open to intense but fair criticism to make the book better. 3) The novelist keeps writing, and keeps improving.

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?

It’s like homework, sure, but it’s also a lot of fun. It’s also very frustrating. It’s a love-hate activity, for sure.

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

This is a cliché, but Stephen King’s On Writing is really, really good. I’ve taught a part of it in my English class. I’ve never been to a workshop, so I can’t speak to that. I will say that you don’t need a fancy MFA or creative writing degree to be a writer, although those things can certainly be helpful to many people.

There’s a whole industry designed to separate writers from their money, so don’t go chasing expensive conferences, retreats, or seminars. They might be helpful, but you can probably learn more from joining a free writers’ group or just plugging away at the craft. Books are cheap, so read all the time. And it doesn’t cost you anything to write and share your work with trusted friends who will give you open and honest feedback.

You just have to be ready to be told that your precious baby of a story sucks, because you will write something that is awful. And that’s okay. What matters is how you deal with your failures—large and small. Don’t quit. Keeping writing. Even if it takes you the rest of your life to get published.

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

Don’t let your own ego get in the way of producing better work. Also, don’t worry about being a perfectionist—write, write, and write until that project of yours is finished. You can fix all of your issues in editing, when you open the door to others, and when you can read your own work with fresh eyes.

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Lynn Steward Head ShotLynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. 

April Snow, just released todayis volume two in the Dana McGarry Series. 

Find out more on Amazon

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, April Snow.  What was your inspiration for it?

A: I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project.  But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.

After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character, Dana McGarry, needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the pilot and first season into a novel and A Very Good Life, was published last year. My new novel, April Snow, is based on season two

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Dana is underestimated by her soft demeanor but she has fortitude and will stand her ground for what she believes and wants to achieve. She will find a way to reach her goals.

 Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way? 

A: I started developing the TV show approximately four years ago, spending the first year and a half researching historic facts, places, and events from the period, and creating the characters.   I did not have writers block or any bumps along the way. The stories for the five TV seasons/books  just kept writing themselves.  Characters I thought would play an important role, never made it to the page, and others, I least expected, became my favorites.

April Snow front cover jpegQ: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A:  I again go back to “Write what you know.”  New York City, especially Murray Hill, is home to me.  As a child I was often in Manhattan visiting my grandparents in their Italian neighborhood on 106th St Street. There is so much to draw on when writing about a place or topic that is familiar, or part of your soul. And, of course, my in the fashion industry has provided many personalities, events, and experiences for inspiration.  I lived many years a few blocks from B. Altman, and I was in the store practically every day.  I have great affection and enthusiasm for the real and fictional characters, and the period, and I think that is translated to the page.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it? 

A: No anxiety at all. I think it helps to be prepared with good research, photos for inspiration, and organized files, readily available when an idea is sparked at the keyboard. I think, no matter your subject, organization is key. Your mind cannot possibly keep everything neatly filed and available when you need it. My iPad has been tremendously helpful for note taking, and I constantly use it in conjunction with my computer.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: My favorite time to research and write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. I won’t allow myself to even peek at e-mails, I don’t want anything to distract me for at least three hours. I am always surprised and disappointed how fast that time goes.

Q: How do you define success? 

A: Being at peace with one’s self, happy to face a new day.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author? 

A: I believe that may be a problem. I quickly learned that writing becomes an all-consuming passion; you effortlessly and selfishly block out everything and everyone. I enjoy reading author interviews in The Paris Review and I have new insight into the minds and lives of writers. While all are very different people, they share an intensity about the amount of private time they need to think and write. With that being said, I think if you really long to get your story on paper, you will find a way;  structure a routine, a time of day to be alone. Just try to curb your enthusiasm and don’t expect others to care what your favorite character did in the last chapter; trust me, they rather wait to read the book!

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Orwell got the driven part right, but I did not have a horrible experience. It is surprisingly exhausting, considering I am seated in one spot for hours and not running a marathon. But, yes, the editing is stressful and tedious; you pull one thread, and everything else falls apart. The passion, however, or as Orwell said, the demon, returns you to the same place the next day.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers? 

A: I have met the most wonderful people on this new journey: kind, helpful, and patient. I have had two high energy careers, and I am enjoying the peaceful world of not only writing, but of writers.

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Soon from Twilight Times Books!

LuthiersApprentice_med

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…

When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice.  But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.

But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?

Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…

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geraldfreemanGerald Freeman left England at the age of 19, bored with his prospects and in search of something to do with the rest of his life. He hitched around Europe for  seven years, allowing fate to guide the way and he very soon realized there could never be enough years to do all the things he wanted. Gerry would like his writing to inspire people to go out and follow their dreams, instead of settling for a life that is under stimulating and does not allow them to reach their full potential. Gerald also expresses himself through sculpture, but the objective is the same: to meet and identify with people all over the planet and share experiences about the enigma of life.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Kill Daddy. What was your inspiration for it?

A: After spending two years living with the African people in Kenya and Uganda, I returned to live and work in Portugal. I quickly discovered that people were genuinely interested in my journey and would ask me all the time the same question: What was Africa like? For some months, I tried my best to paraphrase a roller coaster of emotions and events into an intelligent and considered answer, and I just could not do the countries, or the people justice. I, therefore, decided that I had to tell the whole story. 

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Well, I would say I have lived an interesting life. I travelled for many years, using my drum as a bag and hitch-hiking as my mode of transport. I saw so many crazy and wonderful things, and lived with so many different people that I have memories and stories to tell, for years to come. My life on the road taught me not to believe in coincidences, and I am a strong believer in our spirituality.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

ImageA: Kill Daddy began as an adventure story, and it was great fun reliving all those crazy moments in Africa, even the ones which were horrific at the time. However, halfway through the book, I realized I was telling only half the story. The part which was missing was, why I went wandering around the world on my own, in the first place. It was boring to have to relive some of those moments I had spent years blocking out, but I have to be honest if I want others to value my work. It was written and rewritten over a period of two years. 

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I try not to have too many lulls and by combining different facets. For example, something exciting can happen, but also something exciting can be said, or heard, or implied and so on. I am becoming more skillful at this with practice. 

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: I have not suffered with this, so far. If I feel uninspired, I force myself to write one sentence and then it all comes flowing. 

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I write during the day Mon-Fri and squeeze bits in over the weekends. I am lucky, in that my wife and I have found a good balance. 

Q: How do you define success?

A: I feel successful because I have found my soulmate, and because I am with the right woman, I feel that everything which follows is part of our destiny together. I also cannot look back and say I wish I had done things differently. Of course, there are isolated incidents I regret, but overall, I am happy with the path I chose. 

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: To be honest, I find it difficult to imagine any artist being able to live with someone who doesn’t support them, for very long. 

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: I completely agree that there is a force within you telling you to do what you do, and to ignore it would be like denying your true destiny, and life is much too important to me to do that. 

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: I hope people can relate to the issues covered in my stories, and that they are inspired to live the lives they dream of. I also hope, I can raise awareness in certain areas, and perhaps even do some good.

Connect with the author on the web:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQQBV2O/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w20AAAje07U

http://geraldfreeman.blogspot.pt/

http://gerryaldridgedesign.dinstudio.se/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kill-Daddy/443631555746921

https://twitter.com/gerryaldridge   

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7352126.Gerald_Freeman

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unnamedBeing popular and getting the votes is the foremost objective in the mind of any government. When it comes down to it, making the right noises at the right times and  spending time thinking of good ideas for saving the country money, making more, lining their own pockets and looking after themselves is what really matters. There is little consideration given, to the effects of the new policies on the people involved by the government or those who are unaffected; the affected may protest, but their complaints are just brushed under the carpet, and forgotten.

However, this is the story of what happens when the people fight back, when the government’s economic policies are not just meekly  accepted.    When the Podiatry department of a university hears about proposed cutbacks, which may affect them, the professor in charge of the department Professor Vinnie McVittie and his colleagues decide to fight back, and their plan is to kidnap Dr. Malcolm Moon, a senior academic.
Plan accomplished, the Podiatry department with their captive, hide out, deep in the welsh countryside. However, Malcolm discovers, on the farm a part of him he has never see before and experiences emotions he never knew existed. His incarceration has not turned out as his captors expected, a fact, which soon becomes worryingly apparent.
Back in London, the race to find out where the missing academic is being held is on. With a Prime Minister who has ‘issues’ and is desperate for re-election, government policies and university politics, it seems nothing more could complicate the search for the missing academic, until the journalists become involved…
This amazing story is jam-packed with fantastic characters. They come in all shapes and sizes, the weird, the wonderful and the stereotypical images of government officials, ‘old boys’ and regional characters, all of whom are brought brilliantly to life by this talented author.
This really is the funniest book that I have read in a very long time, in the same vein as Tom Sharpe.  I found the author’s use of local dialect really added to the story. I came originally from the U.K., although not from the Midlands, and I actually know the areas and roads in the story very well, having spent the last three years travelling to visit my daughter at university in Wales.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, it is witty, has a fast moving plot and I, for one, just couldn’t put it down.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available:

 

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Joe Sergi photo

Joe Sergi lives outside of Washington, DC with his wife and daughter. Joe is an attorney and a Haller Award winning author who has written articles, novels, short stories, and comic books in the horror, sci-fi, and young adult genres. Joe is the creator of the Sky Girl series of novels and the editor of Great Zombies in History. His first novel, Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy was selected Best of 2010 by the New PODler Review. Joe is a life-long comic fan who regularly writes on the history of comics and censorship for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. A complete list of Joe’s titles is available at www.JoeSergi.net. When not writing, Joe works as a Senior Litigation Counsel in an unnamed US government agency and is a member of the adjunct faculty at George Mason University School of Law.

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

I think it’s fair to say that I was a born storyteller (much to my parents’ and teachers’ chagrin). As a child, I spent a lot of my time in imaginary worlds with imaginary friends and fantastic creatures. Luckily, I had teachers and parents that encouraged this behavior. My parents tell me that they used to get notes about my vivid imagination. Some of my earliest memories including laying in the back seat of my parents’ car during long road trips creating comic books based on my favorite Saturday morning cartoons or writing the screenplay for a Star Wars inspired opus, complete with the marriage of Luke and Leah (I had even cast the movie with neighborhood kids when we finally realized that none of us owned a movie camera.) In high school, I often annoyed teachers by taking the most mundane assignment and giving them a unique twist. (For a career fair assignment on employment advancement, I outlined the steps that could be employed by the President to manipulate the Constitution to create a monarchy.) In college, I was once accused of plagiarism because “a business major could not possibly be this creative.” In law school, I wrote articles and edited scholarly journals and magazines. In college and law school, I found an outlet for my creativity through standup comedy and acting. As an adult, I decided that I wanted to be a litigator. Many people think this is because a trial attorney is just a story teller with the judge or jury as the audience (nonfiction of course).Currently, I work as a senior litigation counsel for a government agency. As a litigator, you could say I have been a professional non-fiction writer for decades (and quite frankly earn much more per word than I will probably ever make writing fiction.)

What was your inspiration for Sky Girl?

I think it is fair to say that the entire Sky Girl trilogy was conceived in a comic’s podcast forum project and born out of a father’s love for his daughter.

Let me explain. The Comic Geek Speak Podcast is made up of a bunch of great guys that love comics. I have listened to them and appeared on their show for several years and am still an active member of their forums. It was on those forums that I learned about a proposed prose anthology, which would be written by the listeners of the podcast. I wrote a story called the Return of PowerBoy, a story about a middle aged accountant, who may or may not be a superhero. (The anthology was never produced and the story was later featured in A Thousand Faces, the Quarterly Journal of Superhuman Fiction where it won the Haller for Best Writer in 2010.) The story was a very dark tale of what happens when a super villain wins. One of the very minor characters was the accountant’s four-year-old daughter, CeeCee.

Sometimes writers don’t create their characters, they channel them and that’s what happened with CeeCee. After the story was finished, I kept coming back to that little girl. What kind of life would she live, would she develop her father’s powers, and what would she do if she did? Well, CeeCee became DeDe, and the character of Sky Girl was born.

By this time, I had a daughter of my own. And I can’t help but think that this is what converted the very dark Powerboy story into the light hearted story of Sky Girl. As a proud geek daddy, I wanted to share my hobby with my daughter and looked for characters to inspire her. Sadly, I found very few. With a couple of exceptions, most of the female characters from early comics were merely eye candy fawning with unrequited love over the male protagonist or were relegated to the role of guest star (or even hostage) in their own books. Even the few that started as everywoman characters (like Kitty Pryde or Cassie Sandsmark) rapidly developed into über pin-up babes in the 1990s and 2000s. Thankfully, things have gotten a lot better for the modern female comics character, but the industry still has a long way to go. Female characters should have the same chance to grow, develop, and overcome adversity as male characters do. DeDe is a strong teenager and not defined by the men in her life. The series is really about DeDe’s journey to find herself and become Sky Girl. She makes a lot of good decisions, but she also makes some bad and selfish ones. But, at the end of the day she hopefully ends up in the right place. I hope she inspires my daughter to make good decisions.

At the end of the day, Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures, and the character of Sky Girl is the culmination of reading far too many great comics, finding far too few strong female characters and loving my daughter just enough.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?Sky-Girl-Front-Cover

Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures is a fun story that I hope entertains. At a deeper level, it is about taking responsibility and growing up. I hope DeDe will serve as a role model. She is independent and strong and knows what she wants. But, she is also responsible and knows what she has to do. How she handles that, tell a lot about her character.

My intention was to have Sky Girl represent a strong female character who always tries to do the right thing. She isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes. But, she learns from her mistakes and, most importantly, she never gives up. In Sky Girl and the Superheroic Adventures, Sky Girl has to deal with some heavy emotional things like the death of her father, the fact that her mother is moving on with another man, and the ever-changing relationships around her. But, just because she allows herself to be emotionally open and vulnerable, that doesn’t mean she is weak. Dealing with adversity makes her that much stronger when she triumphs over it.

How long did it take you to complete the novel? 

I had a pretty unique writing process when I did Sky Girl. I write all of my first drafts on my Blackberry as emails, which I send to myself and edit later. (I do the same thing on my iPhone and iPad now, with a lot more corrections thanks to the autocorrect feature and fat fingers.) It is a habit I developed during standing room only commutes to an old job and frequent travel on my current job. I can pretty much tune out the world when I write. Sometimes I listen to music, other times I sit quietly, and still others I stand on a crowded bus, train, ferry, monorail, or on a really long line for a theme park attraction. Later I look at these emails and I do my final editing. I should add that I always like to listen to movie and television soundtracks (usually very late at night/early morning). I have a very large collection, which runs the gamut from classic to anime to horror to science fiction. I can always find something to put me in the mood. For example, in the fight scenes in Sky Girl and the Superheroic Legacy, I remember listening to The Mummy Returns, Van Helsing, Superman Returns and King Arthur (I would add the Avengers if I was writing it today). Those scores really create the heroic mood. The score from Dracula or the Exorcist can always inspire horror (and is really creepy in the morning). Alias and the Mission Impossible scores are great for suspense.

Of course, the harder part of the work (and the biggest delay) was the submission process. Right out of the gate I got numerous three chapter and full book requests from several publishers and agents. However, always at the last level, the book would be rejected because 1) it should be written as a graphic novel, 2) the target audience for superhero prose fiction is too small. More specifically, that the there is no audience for superheroine fiction, which is like saying “girls don’t read comics.” (This is clearly not true and sexist in my mind.) 3) My platform wasn’t big enough. Numerous publishers suggested I self-publish the book, which was a route I didn’t want to go. The few offers I got were from publishers that were on the Predators and Editors lists (or should have been). As I will get into, I think I ended up making the wrong choice and learned from it. But, I am grateful that the first publisher was willing to take a chance on the book because I know there is a Sky Girl audience out there.

So, to answer the question, conservatively it took 3 years for each book to come out.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m not sure there is anything such as a typical day. There are two major philosophies that I have adopted for my writing. The first comes from Ray Bradbury, who I had the privilege of meeting at San Diego ComicCon before he died. I asked him if he had any advice for writers. He said the best thing a writer can do is write. The second philosophy comes from Stephen King (in On Writing and not told to me in person), who said something like, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write.”

So, I try to read and write all the time. I get the majority of it done when no one is awake. I’m one of those people that doesn’t sleep very much. I get a couple of hours a night. That leaves a lot of time when no one is around. I used to watch a lot of television infomercials. Now, I use that time more productively and write. At the very least, I have to try to write creatively every day (I also write for my day job, but it is a very different structure). I don’t hold myself to minimum page limits or time limits when I write fiction. Instead, I try to set aside 5am to 7am to write every day and see how much I can do.

So with that philosophy in mind, I will go through today. I got up at 4:30 am and read some chapters in Marty Sklar’s new book, Dream it! Do it! Then, I edited some interviews I wrote last night for the Sky Girl book tour. Next, I started this interview, wrote a comics script, and did some research for my nonfiction book before my daughter got up for school. I dropped her off and, on the way to work, I listened to the audio book for Michael Schumacher’s Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics. I heard something that sparked an idea for a CBLDF article, so I sent myself an email with the idea after pulling in my office parking lot (don’t text and drive it’s  a bad idea). During my lunch hour, I did some research for my potential CBLDF article, updated my website, and answered some writing related emails. After work, I listened to the audiobook for David Walter Smith’s In the Shadow of the Matterhorn. (I frequently listen to up to 5 audiobooks at a time, which is while I love Audible). After I got home, I finished this interview, attended to a Comics Experience lecture by Andy Schmidt on working for the Big Two, outlined my ideas for the CBLDF article, reviewed my research on my nonfiction book, read Rise of the First Lanterns, and did some work I brought home from the office. It is now 1:45am and I am finally going to bed. The alarm is set for 4:30 and then I can start all over tomorrow. I’m lucky, there are some nights I get so engrossed that I inadvertently pull all- nighters.

Admittedly, there are times that it is very hard to fit in the writing. My position as a Senior Litigation Counsel is more than a full-time job. Add on to that I still try to take comic classes and do workshops with Comics Experience (which I highly recommend by the way), and the fact that I have an eight-year-old daughter (and a wife that travels for a living), and time gets pretty tight. When I’m traveling, I do the majority of my writing on commutes or while waiting.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

The hardest part of writing Sky Girl, or really any work of fiction, is the editing–especially if you decide to cut something. For example, in the original draft, Dianne (DeDe’s mom) had remarried and DeDe had a little brother. Because of this, I had a completely different role for Michael Valjorge–he was going to be a school janitor that DeDe and Jason tried to avoid while they tested DeDe’s powers. In early edits, it became apparent that these extra characters only complicated the plot and didn’t add anything. So, they were cut from the novel and Valjorge came in as the boyfriend.

Another thing that causes a problem for me is motivation to edit. I write because I have stories to tell. Far too frequently, I get the story on paper and that satisfies the need to get it out. So, I have to force myself to edit and then edit and then edit. If this occurs, I have to put it aside until the muse calls me back to it. Of course, that’s easier to do when you aren’t on deadline. However, if something is due, I just struggle through it and hope for the best. The other thing that occurs when you put your work aside for months is that you may lose the connection to the characters. This happened in a recent story I did called “The Tube” (in Indie Comics Horror #2 available in comic shops now). By the time I got back to the story, I had to rework the main character (from a school girl to a secretary) because I didn’t feel her anymore. I liked the way it turned out, but the original version was very different.

What do you love most about being an author?

While it is true that a writer is anyone who writes, it’s pretty cool that I can look at my shelf and see all the books I’ve written on my shelf and say, “I made those.” To know that after I am gone future generations will have the ability to see my imagination is pretty awesome. But, by far, the best thing about being a writer would have to be the readers. I mean sure, authors are a pretty dedicated lot, who provide entertainment. But at the end of the day, I write for me—because I have a story to tell. I would write if no one ever read it. (For evidence of this, you should look at the sales figures for some of my earlier work). Readers on the other hand, have no such compulsion. They spend their valuable time and money on someone else’s work. There are a lot of great books out there by some amazing authors (living and dead). As a result, these people don’t need to take a chance on me (or any other unknown), but they do. I really appreciate that. So, the most rewarding part of being a writer is a no brainer. It is the people. I love going to conventions and meeting people to tell them about my books. I love the people that take the time to read my books and just come by and say hello and tell me they liked it. I just finished two days at Baltimore ComicCon. I am exhausted, worn out, and have no voice. But, you know what? I would not have traded that experience. I got to meet some great people and introduce them to my book. Some of them bought it and some of them didn’t. Nothing is more rewarding than someone coming up to me at a show and telling me that they really loved my book, or that it is their daughter’s favorite book, or that they made (or had someone make them) a Sky Girl costume for Halloween or a ComicCon. At my last comic con, two little girls told me that Sky Girl was their favorite book and they can’t wait for the third book. These people tell me their theories and guess at what will happen next. It is humbling. If you want to know a secret, book festivals and comic conventions aren’t that lucrative for me (I rarely ever make my table cost). But, writing is pretty solitary, so the chance to meet people is priceless.

To these people, I say “Thank you!”

There is a second, less tangible benefit of being a writer and that is the moment when you realize that your characters have come to life. For example, a major character doesn’t make it through the current book. I never intended for this event to occur. But, when I wrote that part of the story, I realized that there was no other way the tale could be told. Someone once said that a writer doesn’t tell stories, they discover them. When that happens, it is a great feeling.

Where can we find you on the web?

My author site is www.joesergi.net; Sky Girl can be found at www.SkyGirlNovel.com, and the official site for Great Zombies in History is www.GreatZombiesinHistory.com; my monthly articles can be found at www.cbldf.org.

Thanks for having me. For those interested, Sky Girl is available at all online booksellers and can be ordered in brick and mortar shops and chains. It is also available directly from the publisher at www.martinsisterspublishing.com. I will also have copies and be signing the book at some upcoming show appearances, some of which include: The Collingswood Book Festival (October 5), New York ComicCon (October 10-13), and the Festival of the Book (October 19).

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The Fulton Incident banner
Jordan EkerothJordan Ekeroth is a young man with a clear voice, wisdom beyond his years, and always a story to tell. From a young age, you could find him either buried in books or bearing the adventure of his imagination into the great outdoors. He’s met some people and seen some things that have given him a radical desire to impact the world in a positive way. A person of deep faith, his dream in writing is to take people along on the adventure of a lifetime, while simultaneously creating a space for them to learn about themselves and the world around them.

His latest book is the adventure/suspense, The Fulton Incident.

You can visit Jordan Ekeroth’s website at www.jordanekeroth.com.

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I think it’s something that I was born better-equipped for than many are, but it was never a sure thing. It took a lot of determination and the decision to pursue writing over other hobbies and interests.

What was your inspiration for The Fulton Incident?

I was volunteering in Uganda and one afternoon, as I stood on the balcony of the guest house I was staying in, I wondered, what would I do if I went back into my room and discovered that my passport and my things had been stolen? My imagination started racing with intrigue and possibilities, and the plot was born.

The Fulton Incident smWhat themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to bring my characters to a place where they are forced to confront something they would rather avoid. People crave comfort, and none of us like to deal with our own issues. Even people that we describe as confrontational are actually those that are far more interested in other people’s problems than their own.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

About 10 months.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I wasn’t writing full-time while working on this project, I just found time whenever I could to continue writing and editing. I didn’t have the luxury of a typical writing day.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I would have thought that sticking with it until it was done would have been the biggest problem, but it was actually resisting the impulse to call it done when it was still in an early phase of editing. I was so excited to have finished my first couple drafts, I just wanted everyone to read them!

What do you love most about being an author?

I’d be lying if I said some of the benefits weren’t egotistical. But before and after anyone ever praises the book, I just love that I was able to create something that I’m proud of.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I self published because I wanted this to be a personal project from start to finish. Amazon made it incredibly easy, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.jordanekeroth.com

www.twitter.com/jordanekeroth

www.gamechurch.com

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