Monday, August 19, 2019

Author Spotlight - Anders Roseberg on his Award-Winning Book



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I stumbled upon a vintage circus poster from the late 1800's and was mesmerized. It had a child-like tone to it and the more I looked through circus images, the more I found that they had a lot in common with children's book illustrations. They were fun, comical, and amusing. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING?
Ladies and gents, feast your eyes down in the wheel of blunders.
At the speed of thunder come The 7 Wild Wheel Wonders.
Round they race, zippity-zip, just like a yo-yo spins.
This race, nobody loses, but no-one ever wins.
I love the way this stanza rolls. The poster actually called them The 7 Wild Wheel Wonders. The riders are riding in an open wheel, a circular structure where they are riding on the walls and moving around and around. Since there is no start or finish line, nobody loses or wins.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
I really don't see myself as any of the characters but as I write I do write a bit of myself in each of them. The strongman is picking two men up like a human-dumbbell, yet he crochets and collects puppy porcelain plates. We all have a little yin and yang in us.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I want readers to believe in themselves, to be daring, to be brave, and to be bold. I often write, "Dare to be the incredible YOU!" when I sign the books. 
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I suppose I was always a creative writer in my English classes. I loved creating stories. But what really got me going was my daughter Priscilla who was just a babe at the time. My first picture book, Priscilla and the Sandman was greatly inspired by a lullaby I made up for her. 
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE?
I'm not sure exactly why, but I do write in rhyme mostly. It could be the musician in me. I like trying to come up with creative rhyming lines. I really like Chris Van Dusen's writing style and rhyme. I also appreciate the simplicity of Anthoney Browne, and the complexity of Chris Van Allsburg.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
More than often, it starts with an idea or a funny title. Then comes the writing, and then the illustrations. However, because I was working with illustrations that had been drawn a hundred years ago, The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show was quite the opposite. I first had to search for the illustrations that I wanted to share with children, organize them, and then start writing the text. 
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER?
I'm sure you will hear this a lot, but the greatest challenge is just getting known to a point where you can just write and publish. That is where my goal is, and it seems like it could take some time. Right now, I am focusing on building a name and a brand. 
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED?
I am still in the process of seeking an agent and I would love to be traditionally published. So far, I have been publishing myself. I lived abroad for ten years where I printed my first two picture books.  
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Try getting reviews lined up as they can be a huge promotion. The more renowned the reviewer, the better. I've had some amazing reviews but so far, I haven't seen reviews translate into sales. But the more you have people talking about your book, the better chance you have of someone stumbling upon it. Also, create good quality, marketable books. You aren't going to get far in reviews if your book isn't up to par with what your competitors are doing.  
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I'm relatively a newbie so winning awards has been nice. I've won Best of State in Utah, National Indie Excellence Award and now the Literary Classics Award.  
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I'm sure it seems rather cliche, but I've got my sites on being published by one of the five big traditional publishers. Meanwhile, I hope to continue to self-publish a few more books. My goal is ten at the moment. 
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
I go by a meaningful pseudonym. I would have liked to go by my real name but my real name is fairly common. In fact there were three of us in my Jr. High. One of them was a trouble maker which had me in the principal's office more than once by mistake.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Support local and independent. Independent authors don't have the money to spend on marketing, thousands of books, or book tours and travel. It's harder for the indie author to get a name out there. So please support, review, and share your local indie authors. It really means so much to us as word of mouth is really key.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
My first book is Priscilla and the Sandman, a story of a girl who travels through a beautifully illustrated dream sequence. The sandman is an up-right walking cat.
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I am currently in the process of publishing the sequel to The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show which is exciting. I'm thrilled to bring even more beautiful circus images that may seem ancient to a young audience who will appreciate them. It will be subtitled The Strangely Unique and include some of the side shows that brought the curious from all over world. I hope to teach tolerance, love and respect on that one. It will be called The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show Returns : The Strangely Unique.
I'm also working on a spin-off of Alice in Wonderland called, Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The illustrator I'm working with is amazing. The rhyming is top-notch. This is going to be such a fun book for those who love Alice in Wonderland but want something that can be read to a younger audience. Tweedledee and Tweedledum focuses on them solely but will have little Easter Eggs placed throughout the book. This is going to start my series of Alice in Wonderland spin-offs.
I've also got Little White Cat which is a fun interactive book that I'm seeking an agent or publisher for. When I show the dummy copy to children at events I'm at, they giggle and have such a good time reading it. 
The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show Returns : The Strangely Unique is now available  through Amazon in hardback or through my website andersroseberg.com.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum does not yet have a release date. I'd like to print this one with an offset printer, not through print-on-demand services. So, I think it depends if I can get some pre-sales or raise some money through crowd-funding. If you'd like to keep up on that, join my newsletter or follow me on social media.  

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Author Spotlight - Joyce McPherson on her Award-Winning Book



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? I love thinking about the gifts that all of us have and wondering what it would be like if there were more gifts than we knew.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? “There must be stories.” This line refers to the stories behind old objects. I believe there are stories we can find.
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? Lindsey—she sort of lives in her own mind and is often oblivious to the bad stuff.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? I will give you a clue—it’s the last word of the book.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? I wanted to write so that I could give back the joy of reading that I experienced as a young person. I’m also inspired by a quote attributed to Walt Disney: 'That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.'
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE? Laura Ingalls Wilder has had the greatest influence on my writing style. She wrote in a way that brings her reader into the story. I first read her books as a young person, and I continue to enjoy them as an adult.
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
One young person read my Camp Hawthorne books even though she doesn’t like fantasy. She confided in me, “But the things in these books could really happen.” If one day you read the books, you will understand why this made me laugh—but even more at the happy thought that Camp Hawthorne could be real!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
When my second child was born, I told my mother that I planned to write books once my children were grown up, and she said, “Why don’t you start now?” I’d never thought I could do it, but I decided to wake up early every morning and write for 20-45 minutes if possible. As my children grew older, I would set the timer for 45 minutes every afternoon, and my kids knew to let me write until the timer went off. I typed like crazy until the bell dinged. It took years to write (and re-write) the first book (A Piece of the Mountain), but once it was published, my publisher asked for more, and that was how I got started.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER? I love re-writing, but the first draft is always hard for me.
IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? I would be incredibly honored to be compared to Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks) who writes from the heart, Trenton Lee Stewart (The Mysterious Benedict Society), who writes fascinating stories, and Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), who writes magic!
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED? I got my start writing biographies for children. I wanted my own children to know about the spiritual lives of some of the greatest thinkers in history. I sent my manuscript to a publisher that I admired, and they accepted it!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? My grandmother reading my first book and loving it.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? I would like to continue writing for young people and connecting with the imaginations of my readers.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: I have nine children, and we read books aloud together every day.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? I receive a lot of inspiration from the young people in my life. I coach a Shakespeare troupe with ninety members, and they are some of the most interesting and creative people I know. We share our abridged scripts for readers’ theatre and youth productions on Amazon.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Camp Hawthorne Series:
Biography Series includes Sir Isaac Newton, Johann Sebastian Bach, C.S. Lewis and others
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? I’m in the early stages of writing a middle grade novel based on a world inspired by French fairy-tales—talking cats, ogres, and a spunky heroine.
LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Book of Chaos, by Jessica Renwick, earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval



Fable Nuthatch is no ordinary girl.  Orphaned at a very young age, she lives with her Aunt Moira and cousin, Timothy.  She has the ability to perform magic, but her aunt forbids her to practice the art.  One day Fable discovers a book which has been tucked away on a shelf for years.  The pages inside are blank, but the book seems to hold some sort of magical powers.   It doesn't take long for Fable and her cousin to learn the book holds some sort of darkness.  But when they try to make things right, Fable is swept away into an alternate world unlike any she has ever known.  And to make matters worse, Timothy has disappeared!

Author Jessica Renwick has crafted a highly engaging tale about the love of family and the true bonds of friendship.  This enchanting tale offers a thrilling adventure for young readers who are sure to be entertained by this first book in the Starfell Series

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Monday, July 1, 2019

Author Spotlight, Kena Sosa on her Award-Winning Book



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I love documentaries and after watching one about the Kindertransport on Netflix, I had to know more. I began my research on my own, but was given a huge push forward when the Billie Levy Research and Travel grant funded my trip to the University of Connecticut to learn more and meet and interview actual kindertransportees. The book would not have come to life without the detail and inspiration they provided. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
"Look, Mutter! The clouds are wild horses today! Can you see them? They are running free!" Mutter smiled back. Helen sighed. "If only we could ride away on them, just for a while." 
I love this line as a nephophile, or lover of the clouds. To me, the clouds represent the present and living in it. The clouds never stay the same so observing them in any moment is to live that moment which will never happen again. They are an escape, which is what Helen needed. In that moment of the book, Helen is an escapist. I identify with her need to not be contained, ever. 
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU?
In this case, I identify most with the main character, Helen. She is named after my grandmother. On the outside, she embodied feminine qualities, but she was truly tough as nails. She reaches down and pulls out bravery at times others would lose their composure, and still somehow manages to do so with grace. I admire that. 
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD-WINNING BOOK? I want readers to cling to hope as Helen did, regardless of the situation they may find themselves in. And perhaps more importantly, I want them to remember to help others when they can, because if they can, they should. 
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
I have always spoken quietly and saved speaking for important things. Yet, in an automatic writing exercise in high school, once the faucet of words was turned on I could not shut it off. I discovered my inner self was quite the chatterbox. I guess the writer in me is my soul speaking. Expressing yourself is so essential. I try to instill that in my kids. 
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
I litter my house with notebooks. I tend to lose them, maybe subconsciously because it is so exciting to find them again and re-imagine things from where I left off the time before. I scribble down things that catch my attention, interesting names, phrases or ideas that aren't ready to be born yet but have potential. Eventually I start putting them together when I figure out what connects them. That is typically how my stories happen. 
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER? The waiting! Patience is not one of my virtues and in publishing, there is a lot of waiting between steps in the process. I'm like a little kid when I'm excited. I am ready to share the news or book or achievement with everyone.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Reach out to anyone and everyone, even when the opportunity is not likely. The worst that can happen is that they can say no. Work your network. You never know which of your connections will prove lucrative. 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? Winning this award takes the cake for accomplishment so far! However, I would say getting to tell this particular story and meet true survivors of the events has been so rewarding....
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I can't narrow it down to one because I dream a lot. As for children's literature, I would love to one day write AND illustrate a book. I envy the talent of illustrators. One day, maybe I'll be talented enough artistically to do both. 
Ultimately I would like to be a full-time writer at some point, one who encompasses the many genres I enjoy writing. I also write short stories, screenplays, poems and articles as well as travel writing. If I could live on the road and write about it, that would be a mental paradise. 
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
As a quiet person, I find power in playing the drums. They speak in their loud voice for me in the language we all understand, music. I have been a western style drummer since high school, and played Taiko for ten plus years now. Only recently I have started learning hand drums and Cajon. 
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
My third book was released in 2017 as well. It's a picture book called The Unhuggables by River Road Press. 
The Unhuggables is about a boy named Oliver who doesn't want to be hugged. He ducks and dodges his mother's hugs by transforming himself into unhuggable animals. His mother playfully dances and dodges his efforts until he is ready for a hug again. It is mostly about loving someone through a difficult moment, something we can all identify with. The Unhuggables won the cover contest for the website Authors Talk About It, the month of its release in October/November 2017. 
My first picture book is called Rey Antonio and Rey Feo. It's about a sibling rivalry in the backdrop of the Fiesta celebration in San Antonio where I grew up. It is a bilingual picture book, full of vibrant colors and scenery. 
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
While I'm shopping my new manuscript around, I'm focusing on other genres, mostly screenwriting. 



LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Author Spotlight, Dr. Bon Blossman on her Award-Winning Boook



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK?
I saw a viral video of a hospital in South America where a balloon was floating around the children's ward - with purpose. The medical staff appeared to be frightened of this balloon. It might have been a hoax video, but it's where I drew inspiration for some of the creepy aspects of the story. 
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY?
This might seem odd or peculiar, but here it goes: I dropped to my knees next to my pit bull; blood seeped from a gaping wound in his abdomen as he labored for his next breath.
This is the opening line of the book. My daughter (28 at the time) didn't answer my text messages for a period of three days. I had already planned to have my protagonist find her murdered dog as the opening scene of my new book. After my daughter avoided me for that period of time, I chose the breed and name of the dog - which was maybe not coincidentally the same as her beloved Hugo. We laugh about it now. My word of warning to those with an author in the family - stay on their good side at all times. 
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY?
I would say the mother of the protagonist. In the story, the family is taken from their lives of wealth, prosperity, and familiarity to a gloomy town, living in a haunted house. I had to move during my 9th grade year to an unforgiving location because my father was in the military. For the inspiration, I coupled my experience as a mother of a teenager with what I had endured as a teen having to uproot my life into a less fortunate situation.  
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD- WINNING BOOK?
No matter what challenges you will face in life, you can overcome anything. Never give up, conquer all. 
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
My father was a surgeon. As a hobby, he wrote poetry and dabbled in novel writing, as well. In my early days of writing ('90s), he gave me strong inspiration and guidance. Now, I am currently working on my eleventh novel. I am a physiologist as a first career and used to engage in scientific research while teaching biochemistry and other science courses at The University of North Texas. However, my hobby took over my life, and I am blessed. 
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE? - PLEASE ELABORATE:
I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. I not only read all of the Harry Potter series, but when I wrote my first books, I can remember studying how she wrote, her style, and format. 
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER:
I am also a murder mystery game writer. If you cross me in any way - you'll be a suspect in one of my games. A writer must write what they know, right? I need to get out there and make some new enemies, though. I'm running out of material!  
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS:
I start with a spiral where I have a page for each chapter. I carry the book around, and as I think of things, I add them to my growing plot lines. When I'm ready, I switch to note cards for each chapter, since I can easily add a card in if I decide to split a chapter. Then, I move to the electronic outline with bullet points. This process can take up to six months, but it works for me.  
Using the Word document, I start to write the chapters based on the bullet points, ensuring I get all points made. This part only takes me 30 days from start to finish - as I work many hours a day, seven days per week. Once I start this, I have to work on it every day to keep the flow going. When I hate the story (meaning I'm done), I leave it for at least a week. Vacation time! Then, it's back to the grind where the real writing begins. I painstakingly re-write, edit, and slash extra verbiage for about three months. I'm wordy, as you can see. I try to ensure every sentence moves the plot forward. After at least five revisions from start to finish - it's off to the editor. Two months later, I get their notes. I edit from start to finish at least twice. At this point, if I have a willing beta reader, I'll ask them to read. Then, it goes for a line-by-line, and then a proofread. *Sigh* 
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER?
Finding the time to write. My murder mystery game company (MyMysteryParty.com) is doing great, which means there is less time for me to write novels. My mentor as a PhD student once told me that life is about many plates spinning on poles. The plates are family, career, hobbies, and so forth. You must not let any of the plates stop spinning, so it is a balance to jump from pole to pole and spin those plates. 
IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY?
I don't deserve this in the least, but I aspire to be the YA version of Stephen King. We all need goals. 
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
Social media is your best bet. Grow an audience, engage with them, and do free giveaways and promotions on occasion to keep them on their toes. 
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Being recognized by organizations such as Literary Classics for my work is my greatest literary accomplishment. I feel honored and proud each time I win an award, as it gives me the confidence to press on with my next book.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS?
I aspire to have my books on shelves at the airport and grocery store lines. It's nearly impossible to get to that level, but you must have goals. 
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING:
I was once on four seasons of a reality television show (2011-2013), but I don't like to talk about it ;-) 
WHAT (IF ANY) OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? 
Dregs Island, which I wrote with my son, Zakk Myer (a student at UT) Dregs Island
The Fiona Frost series: 
Blood Dolls (Volume 5)
Shillingstone Witch (Volume 4)
Fatal Souvenirs (Volume 3)
Foster Manor (Volume 1)
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS?
I have a new YA series in the works. It was inspired by my mystery party game, Murder Behind the Mirror. I am beyond excited about this, as it is a bit out of the box for me with other worlds and magical powers - all explained by science, of course. I am targeting summer of 2019 as the release date of volume 1. 

LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Author, Jonathan Schork, on his Award-Winning Book



HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? More Tales evolved out of my 2016 book, The Love of Simon Fox, in which a little girl wanders into an enchanted wood and befriends an unpopular fox, and the rest of his animal friends become her family. It seemed to me there were a few characters with whom we hadn’t spent enough time in “Simon Fox”, and I really didn’t want to be finished yet with the enchanted wood, so I wandered back in and wrote an eclectic series of stories.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LINE FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK AND WHY? I’m not really a “superlative” kind of guy—how does one pick a favorite anything?—but at this moment the first line that came to my mind was from the opening of chapter XI, Evan Herdman Comes Calling: “Time passes fast and slow in the enchanted wood, & answers seldom the same demands placed on it in the wide world beyond. Seasons come and seasons go, but the strange magic that ordained Penelope forever a child ordained also that the wide world should hurry by while the forest lagged. ” The other end of the same chapter offers an equally compelling sentence: “He stood there between loneliness and a gypsy band, leaning on a stick given him by a friendly hedgehog, making some internal calculus about magic and roads not taken.”
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING TITLE DO YOU BELIEVE IS MOST LIKE YOU AND WHY? I used to say that Martin Badger was my avatar from “Simon Fox”—he’s a little bit rough around the edges, and not necessarily given to company, but he is courageous, loyal, and generous. In “More Tales”, though, I would have to say probably Cedric Marmot (that’s mar-MOH—he prefers the French pronunciation): he’s a bit fussy and fusty, loves cooking and dining, prefers his own company, and often acts the role of the voyeur: watching others and writing down their stories in his copious collection of books.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL GLEAN FROM YOUR AWARD WINNING BOOK? I’m not a lector, but I would be quite happy if my readers discerned in my characters courage, loyalty, kindness, & generosity. I suppose I’d also be quite pleased if my U.S. readers could tidy up their language a little: I’m so tired of hearing loud, profanity-laced screeds everywhere I go. Surely we can do better…
WHAT/WHO INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER? I was a precocious reader—my first book was an abridged edition of Melville’s Moby Dick, and I was six—so I’ve understood that words have meaning and gravity for as long as I can remember. There’s just never been a time when I haven’t scribbled in notebooks.
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING STYLE? There are several authors who’ve had an influence on my writing—Dickens, Carroll, Kipling, Dinesen, Fitzgerald, & Tolkien—who gave me deep insights into the world-building of a good story and an elegant turn of phrase. Of course, these are all authors with a terribly old-fashioned style, which might also be used to describe my own, but I am a classicist, and I am entirely unapologetic. The author who has had the single biggest impact on my writing (and my cognition, I should admit), however, is the late paleontologist Steven Jay Gould. What I find so compelling, even today, in his body of work, is not only his eloquence, but his capacity to blend a number of seemingly disparate threads or themes into an harmonious sum, with truly life-enlarging results. In my house, Gould is just about required reading.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER: I’m really at sixes and sevens here: there just doesn’t seem to be anything particularly funny or interesting about my writing experience. I suppose I could say that I’ve never been drunk or used drugs, and I find the propensity of writers to claim some special gift from the bottom of a bottle or a needle or a pipe to be almost as preposterous as it is pretentious. I prefer to keep my faculties about me, in spite of how tedious a habit that might seem.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WRITING PROCESS: My writing process starts in my sleep: I’m a prolific and lucid dreamer and derive most of my inspiration from my dreams. Where my stories are concerned, I may spend quite a bit of time in a dream—several weeks or even months— experiencing it over and over again before I start writing it down. By then it has resolved itself into a narrative of extraordinary detail, and my relationship to the story is more scribe than story teller: I have only to copy down the words as they seem best to me (I’m a synesthete, so in addition to the meter and tone of my prose the shapes of the words and the eddies of sentences are immensely important to me). I hand-write everything in notebooks (which are piled up all over the studio) and type them when I’m satisfied with the hand-written text (I’m not a gifted typist, but my hand writing is atrocious, and it would be a fool’s errand to expect anyone else to be able to decipher it). When a rough draft is done, I print it and turn it over to my beta readers, maybe make a few adjustments, then hand it off to the editor.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A WRITER? Once again, I’m at a bit of a loss: I don’t really feel like I have challenges, per se. I suppose I could say that my stubborn adherence to unpopular, old-fashioned styles might be an impediment to my developing a larger audience, but I’m really just not as concerned about that as I am that I should give such audience as I have my best efforts. I’ll never be a rich author, but at least I won’t be an embarrassed one…
IF YOU COULD BE COMPARED TO A WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR WHO WOULD YOU MOST WANT THIS TO BE AND WHY? I suppose I’ll be content if someday I might be compared favourably to Isaac Asimov: he published prodigiously across an impossibly wide spectrum of magisteria, and left an indelible mark on the literary world. I’d be a fool to aim that high, but I’ve at least got a start: I’ve published plays, screenplays, short story collections, YA feminist fantasy, children’s literature, philosophy, & art, and I’m presently working on more of the above, as well as science fiction, history, political science, and opera.
HOW DID YOU FIND AN AGENT / GET PUBLISHED? I wrote my first novel—an unpublished fantasy closer to George R.R. Martin than Tolkien (it merged better with my ancient and medieval history studies) when I was sixteen. My high school English teacher, whom I later married, tried unsuccessfully to shop it around. As a child of an alcoholic, I was accustomed to rejection and disappointment: undeterred, I kept writing, and finally found a micro-publisher in 2004 for my short story collection. I hit a drought for another decade, but finally got noticed after my 2015 self-published Fearless Inanna (my publisher subsequently reprinted a 2nd addition with editorial improvements). It’s a hard business, and the two gifts that made it possible for me are a thick skin and a certain relentlessness.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK? I can make a suggestion on what not to do: however attractive it might seem to try book fairs, unless you’re affiliated with a publisher or a writing cooperative of some kind, it’s going to be an expensive and largely unproductive exercise. A writer would be better off investing that money in some postage and entry fees in book award competitions, and maybe in some advance copies to local media: that kind of attention is much more productive in getting eyes on one’s book.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENT? I think my greatest literary accomplishments are ahead of me: my nine volume ancient history book will probably be my most prominent achievement. That notwithstanding, I feel a sense of satisfaction with each new title: however humble the project, there’s something immensely satisfying about being able to deliver a new book to my mum, or my girlfriend, or my brother. I’m not a prideful man, but I love being able to do what I do, and I love that it pleases them.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST LITERARY ASPIRATIONS? Well, I think I just answered this one: that nine volume ancient history text will likely be the work that distinguishes me as an author, if anything does. Beyond that, I just want to be able to keep writing, and I see no reason that I won’t be able to do that until I’m a little old author.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT THEY MIGHT FIND INTERESTING: I’m not just an author, I’m one of those annoying polymaths: I’ve also won awards for sculpture, photography, painting, & volunteering with people with HIV; distinguished myself in couture, cuisine, and cinema; held patents on several electronic devices for alternative energy systems; formerly played in the Giri Mekar Balinese Gamelan Orchestra and presently compose a neo-classical opera; am building a proposal for an ISS experiment for NASA; work on my own vehicles; & renovated a condemned house into my current studios, which I share with a stray cat, a stray girl, and my mum. My optometrist likes to say I’m larger than life; I prefer to say I’m just large enough…
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS? I have a small, devoted fan base with whom I correspond (I subscribe very strongly to the notion that, if a person has taken the time to write me, the very least I can do is pen a short note of thanks). If you should find it desirable to write me, whether you’re a writer or a reader, you should please feel welcome.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?  The board of directors at my publisher have taken an eccentric position on whence to purchase my books, and because I concur, I’ll share it here: it’s easy and cheap to buy from Amazon, but easy and cheap are not necessarily what’s best for our community or our world. We encourage our readers to buy from their local, indie book sellers, and, in the absence of that option, at least from something like Barnes & Noble. 
You may also contact my publisher, SM~ARC, inc., at artrencollab@gmail.com to request a copy (an author inscription—if this is important to you—is available via this avenue of purchase). We’re also big advocates of public libraries: if a book costs too much, don’t buy it: borrow it. 
Following is a list of my other titles: 
The Love of Simon Fox, SM~ARC, inc., 2016
A View from the Tendo, SM~ARC, inc., 2016
DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW BOOKS IN THE WORKS? An illustrated sequel to 2015’s Fearless Inanna, tentatively titled The Way to Atlantis. A political science book tentatively titled Hamilton’s Electors is due out later in 2019, though we expect a possible delay. A children’s picture book called The Birds in My Back Yard, with amusing verse about the birds and eccentric, original water colours, is expected sometime in the summer of 2019. A science fiction book set in the 42nd century is progressing slowly. The opera and the ancient history book are too far away yet to warrant adding to this list.
Advance copies for The Way to Atlantis should be available soon, with a general release soon after. Set in the ancient Mediterranean ca 2800bce, it will follow our young heroine Inanna on a quest across the ancient Mediterranean (including a renewed acquaintance with her friend Shiduri the witch, and a stop on ancient Crete under the guidance of three old-world goddesses to rescue the city of Atlantis from a sea dragon (with quite unexpected results—or maybe not…). As above, it will be available through local indie book sellers, Barnes & Noble, public libraries, and the publisher, SM~ARC, inc..


LITERARY CLASSICS Book Awards & Reviews International Book Awards • Top Honors Youth Book Awards • Seal of Approval http://www.clcawards.org