Author Q&A- Ruthanne Reid

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing and inspiring self-published author; Ruthanne Reid. Ruthanne has been writing since she was eight, and her dedication shows. Her book, The Sundered is out now!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I’ve been writing with the intention of storytelling since I was eight, when I crafted my first masterpiece: a My Little Pony story in which all the ponies were murdered by the snake kingdom except for one single princess pony, who was just so pretty and precious they couldn’t kill her, but adopted her as their own instead.
That’s right. It’s a Mary Sue/My Little Pony/Genocide story. I typed the whole thing on my mother’s typewriter with red ink because I thought it was pretty. Take that, child psychologists.
I do have to note, however, that even this demented early tale shows the seeds of what my current universe became: genre-mixing, dramatic tragedy, and overwhelming cuteness. Oh, dear.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I don’t have a specific muse, per se; good storytelling is what gets my engines going every time. The format doesn’t matter, either; animated, written, or simply told, a good story is the fuel that drives mine.
I have had favorite characters over the years who showed up in any stories I imagined (Grimlock, Vegeta, Chang Wufei, Severus Snape, Steve Rogers). Weirdly enough, crafting a world around a known character often helped me to suss out the details of that world and its needs. From there, original characters were easier to build – especially since I’d already analyzed just what I loved so much about other people’s characters.
Q: Tell me about your book The Sundered. What was the original idea behind it?
A: I can answer this one of two ways: with the plot “hook,” and with the themes. How about both?
THE SUNDERED is about a young man who has to make a horrible decision: he can either save the human race, or save the aliens the humans enslaved. What’s “fair” in this situation? There’s certainly no easy answer, and in the midst of a world flooded by water that kills when touched, revisionist history and abusive homes, Harry has a lot of growing to do before he can even begin to answer that question.
I touch on the question of what makes a life worthy of survival; of what makes “right” and “wrong” in situations where no one is innocent; and on the challenge of making a “good” choice when no choice comes without heavy consequences.
(It’s a cheerful little tome, really)
Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing career? What have you done to overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge I faced was during the period of time I tried to get an agent. Over and over, I received personalized rejections from literary agents with essentially the same wording: I love this story, but it’s too weird for me to sell because publishers don’t like to take risks. If you could change the story to make it more normal (add a romance, change the gender of the protagonist, change the entire ending, etc.), then I could take you on and sell this book.
 
My challenge was literally deciding whether to change my story down to the core in order to sell it, or keep it as it was and try to make it on my own.
The last straw for me was an agent who told me he couldn’t possibly represent the book for the same reasons already mentioned, but he really had to know how it ended, and so asked me for the rest of the manuscript AFTER he’d already turned me down.
 
That told me I had a story worth telling. So I chose to self-publish.
That was one of the best and hardest decisions of my career. The more I’ve marched down this path, the more I’ve realized what a good idea it was for me. It’s not for everyone, by any means; but for someone like me, whose mind isn’t quite normal, it was the only way to retain my writing integrity.
I may still get an agent someday, but now I know enough to do this without compromising my stories.
Q: What advice do you want to give to budding writers?
1. Read EVERYTHING. Read fiction and non-fiction, classics and current best-sellers. Read indie; read how-to books.
2. Learn how to write by thinking about what you read. Learn how to write by writing, and writing, and writing.
3. Forgive yourself. Remember this: EVERYBODY sucks starting out. Absolutely everybody. Ira Glass put it really well in this amazing video that you should go and watch right now:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners[:] All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 
 
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 
 
And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 
 
Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
 
That right there may be the most important advice anyone has ever given a writer.
Q: Did you anticipate how well received you and you books would be?
A: Not even a little – and it must be emphasized that they were not always well-received! No matter what you write, some people will love it, and some people will hate it. That’s okay. That’s normal. At first, when I got a bad review,  I’d honestly flip out a little; it took me a long time to see that everyone’s taste is different, and bad reviews are okay.
Now, the good reviews… those are delicious, gold-coated chocolate. Edible gold, that is. I genuinely had no idea starting out that this book would ever appeal to as many people as it has. It’s been a real encouragement to me. I may be weird, but evidently, so are a lot of others. 😉
Q: Which of the characters you have created is most like you? In what way?
A: There’s a little bit of me in every single protagonist I have.
  • Harry has father issues and has had to reevaluate everything he was ever taught.
  • Katie is so done with the drama of the world she grew up in, and she ran away to New Hampshire. That was LITERALLY me.
  • Grey is fearful and doesn’t want to be a hero; when he finds courage in himself, it’s more of a surprise to him than anyone else.
  • Notte has a gift for seeing all sides of a story, which means he doesn’t always assume he’s the good guy. It’s a sobering perspective I’ve had to grow into over the past ten years
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew in high school?
A: That I didn’t have to please other people the way my folks wanted me to. I felt like my whole world was my family and their acquaintances, but that simply wasn’t true. There are SO MANY people out there, and someone WILL “get” you in time. Keep looking; don’t give up because of rejection. Who you are matters, and who you are is who God made you to be, and there will be other people out there who understand. You just have to find them.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world in any time period, when and where would it be? Why?
A: Does it count if I pick a time that might not have existed? I’m REALLY fascinated by cryptoarcheology. I want to see the really ancient metropolises of the world – the ones that sank and were lost, or were abandoned so long ago in the jungles that we don’t even realize they’re there without satellite imagery, or the ones that lie hidden under desert sands.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: It’s worth pushing through.
There’s so much trouble and pain in this world that sometimes, it might not seem worth it – but it is. It’s worth getting hurt to try again. It’s worth trusting and fighting and forgiving.
It’s worth pushing through. Don’t ever give up.
Find Ruthanne Online:
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Author Q&A- Jonathan Moeller

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonathan Moeller. He is an amazingly fast writer, and has written several awesome books for his various series! If you haven’t read his series, I suggest you get on it! Keep reading to see what Jonathan had to say in the Q&A.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: My second year of high school. So, a real long time ago!

I started writing because I used to run RPG campaigns for my friends in high school, and eventually I realized I was much more interested in the storytelling aspects of it than the mechanics, the die rolls and the character sheets and so forth. I started writing short stories, and it sort of snowballed on from there.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: A combination of current events and historical events, mostly.

If I have a muse, I think it’s a combination of discipline and habit. When I’m working on something new, I like to get at least 3,000 words written a day, preferably more. Even if I would rather take the day off and play computer games, I still try to get a minimum of 3,000 words a day. I don’t always succeed, but I do hit my 3,000 words most of the time when working on a new book.

Q: You have written seven series of books, including The Ghost Series, The Frostborn Series, and The Cloak Games Series. Which has been the most fun to work on?

A: Each one has its own merits, I think, and its own enjoyable aspects to write.

For The Ghosts, Caina Amalas has evolved into a very interesting protagonist to write. One reviewer called her a mixture of Sherlock Holmes, Batman, and Valeria from RED NAILS, which I thought a good description of her character. I also like the rules I have for that world – sorcery as a badly understood form of science, no nonhumans except for spirits, and a world that’s kind of like the Western Roman Empire survived to the Renaissance.

For Frostborn, I wanted to write a big, long epic fantasy series (it’s going to be 15 books) that recreated the feel of a really good RPG campaign, one where the characters start out dealing with minor local events of no significance, and ends with them deciding the fates of kings and empires.

Cloak Games is fun because it’s the only series I write from a first-person perspective. Nadia is an interesting protagonist to write. I’ve said that the Cloak Games series would be about a bad guy very slowly and very much against her will learning to be a good guy, and that definitely applies to Nadia.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each book you write?

A: Not much, I would say. I used to unload trucks when I was younger, and THAT was definitely grunt work!

In terms of writing a book, I just write it until it’s done. I can usually do a 90,000-word rough draft in about twenty-five days or so.

Q: Which one of your characters do you identify most with?

A: Probably Laertes in GHOST EXILE. Every group needs someone competent to attend to the details, and in my real life that’s usually me. 🙂

Q: Which one of your characters would you want to meet the most?

A: None!

If they ever met me, they would (quite rightly) blame me for their various sufferings, and likely concoct some elaborate means of revenge.

Q: How did you come up with the ideas behind each of your series?

The Ghosts started when I wrote a short story about chivalrous romance that got rejected. So the next story I wrote was the exact opposite, about a cynical spy, and The Ghosts grew out of that.

Demonsouled came out of an Arthur Schopenhauer quote about the innate evil of man.

The Frostborn series began because I wanted to write a series that matched the feel of a good RPG game, and I wanted to write a series that was planned from the beginning, since both The Ghosts and Demonsouled happened pretty organically.

The idea for the Cloak Games series came when I read a really long and slightly boring article about how the mass media is frequently used to influence the public in favor of certain social and political positions. I wondered what that would be like in the hands of someone clever, and I came up with an idea where magic-using Elves from another world conquered Earth and used carefully managed propaganda to keep their hold on power, and the Cloak Games series started.

Q: What are your favorite books? What about them do you like?

A: My favorite books are the ones that adhere closely to the rules of storytelling – as a writer, you can see all the nuts and bolts of a story, so I suppose it’s like a builder visiting a house and admiring the craftsmanship of the construction.

So some of my favorite books are THE LORD OF THE RINGS by JRR Tolkien, KNIGHTS OF DARK RENOWN by David Gemmell, THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON by Robert E. Howard, THE ICARUS HUNT, THE THRAWN TRILOGY, and CLOAK by Timothy Zahn, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by CS Lewis, THE BROKEN SWORD and THE HIGH CRUSADE by Poul Anderson, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C Wright, THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and THE SIGN OF FOUR by Arthur Conan Doyle, IVANHOE by Sir Walter Scott, STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson, CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson, and the entirety of the DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher.

Lately I’ve been reading THE EXPANSE series by James SA Corey and I like it.

For nonfiction, I think THE MIDDLE AGES by Morris Bishop is one of my favorite nonfiction books. I also like THE DAY OF THE BARBARIANS by Alessandro Barbero, THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Peter Heather, BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM by James McPherson about the US Civil War, THE SECOND WORLD WAR by John Keegan, and Alison Weir’s books about the Tudor period.

Basically, my nonfiction reading is all history and technical manuals. (I think MORE DOS FOR DUMMIES by Dan Gookin was perhaps the best technical book I ever read, but it is sadly out of date at this point, though many of the basics of DOS are still applicable to modern Windows.) I do think it is a good idea for a writer to read a great deal of history.

Q: What advice do you wish you received when you started writing?

A: Finish as many books as possible, because in 2011 you’ll discover this thing called the Kindle, and your unpublished manuscripts will suddenly become much more useful!

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: If you are a writer starting out, it is better to self-publish than to bother with traditional publishers. I think the best approach (as of February 2016) for a new writer is to write a novel series, and then eventually make the first book free, which will help slowly but surely build an audience.

If you’re a nonfiction writer, I think it is best to start your own website and publish regular articles with an eye towards turning them into a book eventually.

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Author Q&A- T P Keane

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most interesting authors out there; T P Keane! She is getting ready to publish The Paladins of Naretia, her debut novel!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A; I suppose I’ve been writing all my life. As a child, I was never a really good student. In fact, I wouldn’t be amiss at saying that I was probably one of the worst. That was somewhat of a confidence stomper. But I loved stories, and I would often imagine my new worlds and adventures while I lay in bed at night. It wasn’t until I had my two children, and started telling them the adventures I dreamed, that I began to write them down.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I have many muses. Every time I pick up a work of art by a great author, and see how he/she has twisted words and descriptions to not only describe the world I’ve been plunged into, but also the atmosphere. It’s something I’m trying very hard to emulate, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten it down yet. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by NK Jemisin. I have to say, that is as close to perfection as I ever hope to become.

 

Q: You are the middle child of seven children! What was it like growing up with that many siblings? How close are you in age?

A: Growing up with six other brothers and sisters and be described in two words, loud and constant. Thankfully I was subject to the “middle-child syndrome” where often I would be forgotten, or paid very little attention to. But that only applied to my parents, who were too busy running around after a multitude of diaper-wearing monsters that were only content when they were dismantling the house from the ground up. It was tough going for my parents, and I often wondered how my mother did it all. Most of us, with the exception of the eldest, were only a year to two years apart.

 

Q: You fell back in love with storytelling when you began telling your two children bedtime stories. Did these stories spawn the birth of your upcoming book, The Paladins of Naretia?

A: The stories I told my kids were more quirky, odd-ball tales of green elephants with ten wings and a perpetual need to fart. While those kinds of stories weren’t the seeds for The Paladins of Naretia, they were the stirrings that began my need, my want, to create a world properly. I wanted to explore my talent, or lack thereof, in story-telling, regardless of my inability to spell (thank God for spellcheck). It has also just occurred to me that if this all flops on its face, I can blame them.

 

Q: Tell me about The Paladins of Naretia. What went on behind the scenes of creating such an amazing book?

A: I could tell you the plot and the characters behind it, but that can be read on the cover of the book. Behind the scenes, however, is a completely different story. While Olórin, an aged wizard, is set the task of saving the29354761 kingdom by also saving his adopted son from his real father, the dark god Dantet, this isn’t the crux of the story. The Paladins of Naretia is about love. It examines, on three fronts, the bravery and destructiveness that love can bring. Firstly, we have the broken love between Dantet and Edwina, the two ruling gods. They are the divorced parents, if you will, caught up in the hatred of each other and using their children, the people of Naretia, as pawns. Secondly, we have the false love between Olórin and his adopted son, Aramus, who he hopes against all odds will have inherited some humanity from his mother’s side. But Aramus, like Dantet, is incapable of truly loving anything. In the end, Olórin must face the truth of what this means. Our third, but not last, portrayal of love, is true love. Through the novel, we begin to hope, to pray, that Aramus falls in love with the tyrannical queen, Aria, who must put aside her demons to help them. Olórin hopes that love between them would help Aramus stay away from the darkness. But there is only one true love in The Paladins of Naretia, and that is between Aria and her seven-year-old brother Pearan. Her love for him is unconditional and fearless. In the end she will make the ultimate sacrifice to save his life.

 

Q: If you could go back to when you first began writing, what would you tell yourself?

A: Read more, examine how other authors convey their meaning and believe in yourself.

 

Q: If you could be any one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Superficially, I would like to be Aramus, because I would love the ability to fly. But truthfully, I thing I would like to be Sudia, an elf who is half-turned and fighting for her life and for a cure. She intrigues me. Although she is not a main character in the book, she will play a bigger role in the subsequent books and I can’t wait to see how she, a grey-elf, will end up being the moral compass.

 

Q: What is your absolute favorite book? Why?

A: I have so many. I love John Green’s Fault in our Stars, because it is such a heart-warming and breaking story. I also love Ransom Riggs because of the way he uses old photos to spin a tale in Ms Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. Although I have many authors I love to read, I’m slowly becoming an uber-fan of NK Jeminsin, purely because of his skill… and maybe because it’s an awesome story.

 

Q: You have lived in several places. What has been your favorite so far? What makes that place special?

A: I’ve lived and worked in Ireland, UK and in USA. It’s been a wonderful experience to get the opportunity to not just visit each of them, but become part of them. There are certain aspects of each that I both loved and disliked, but for the most part, they bring their own unique cultural and social differences… which is fodder for my books, of course.

 

While I was born in Ireland, and it has many of my family and friends, I’ve never been a fan of the weather. Too much rain and grey skies for me. The States has yielded many more friends and I’ve loved the snowy winters and hot summers of New England. But the UK has always held a special place in my heart. I can’t really explain why, but something inside of me keeps drawing me back to the UK and we may very well end up settling there again.

 

Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?

A: That if I can do it, so can they. Anyone who knew me as a child, would have never thought that I would publish a book. I would never have thought it either, but my love of story-telling is like breathing to me. It’s something I have to do. So, if I can get around my inability to spell, my lack of experience, the little voice in my head telling me to “not be so stupid and don’t embarrass yourself,” then so can anyone. Self-belief is crucial to following your dreams no matter what they are.

 

You can find T P Keane online:

Website: www.tpkeane.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009366060306

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TPKeaneauthor

Amazon book link: http://www.amazon.com/Paladins-Naretia-Book-one-ebook/dp/B01AYC44ZU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455206850&sr=8-1&keywords=the+paladins+of+naretia

Facebook book release party: https://www.facebook.com/events/988671311200675/