Author Interview: Joseph Finley

Author PhotoToday, I’m so, so excited to have Joseph Finley in the hot seat. After reading Enoch’s Device, I had a few questions about our brave Irish monks and the story that befell them. So here it is, one mostly Irish person to another. Enjoy!

About the Author: 

Joseph Finley is a writer of historical fantasy fiction. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, daughter, and two rescue dogs. He also posts regularly at Fresh-scraped Vellum (fresh-scrapedvellum.blogspot.com), a blog devoted to historical and fantasy fiction. God saw fit to make him Irish, at least in part, so he comes honestly by his fondness for the Irish and their medieval monks. Enoch’s Device is his debut novel.

I have a strong fascination with Celtic and Irish lore, and this book filled me to the brim with everything I love in mythology, with a healthy dose of apocalyptic craziness to top it all off. How did you tie all of it together?

First off, thanks for the wonderful opportunity to appear on your blog, and I’m really glad you enjoyed the novel! As for your question, it all started with the Book of Enoch, which talks about rogue angels and their giant offspring wreaking mayhem on earth before the biblical flood. From there I began to realize how similar this story was to other mythologies, which led to a theory (the one Thomas poses in the novel) about a universal origin of myth. What if all the various mythologies—Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, etc.—stemmed from the same source? It turns out that Irish and Celtic myths have similarities to Enochian myth, as well as other mythologies, so it all just fell into place. As for the apocalyptic angle, the Book of Enoch contains its own End of Days prophecy, which dovetails with the book of Revelation. Add in apocalyptic stories from other mythologies, such as the Norse myth of Ragnarok, and it all just came together like one big puzzle.

I have to admit—I adored Donall and Ciaran (mostly Donall because…well…he’s amazing). What was behind the decision for them to be monks? Was this something you came up with initially or something that came to be as you developed and researched your idea?

They were always monks. Since the mystery in “Enoch’s Device” involves a lot of history—and old and arcane books—I needed educated characters who could read both Latin and Greek. Back in the tenth century, the most educated and well-read folks were likely to be monks, since all that many of them did was copy old books all day long. Couple this with the religious/end times plotline, and monks seemed like the natural choice for Ciaran and Donall.

Speaking of research, what was the most surprising thing you found while digging into history and folklore?

On the folklore side, it was really the connection that the Four Hallows of Ireland had with other myths and legends. The four hallows, which consisted of a sword, a stone, a spear (or staff), and a cauldron, are the same four objects that make up the minor arcana in the Tarot, and which relate to the four elements: air, earth, fire, and water. This is true across a number of mythologies, and I never knew this until I began the research for “Enoch’s Device.” On the history side, I was really surprised at how vastly more sophisticated Moorish society was compared to Christian Europe in terms of medicine, mathematics, architecture, and literacy. It was truly an astounding gap. And the fact that the caliph’s library in Cordoba contained more books than probably all of France at the time was mindboggling.

Do you have a favorite Irish myth?

Undoubtedly, it’s the story of the Tuatha De Danann and their battle with the Formorians. The Tuatha De Danann were almost Avengers-like heroes. Whether they were Fae or the old Irish gods, they were armed with four sacred, magical weapons (the four hallows) and fought for the fate of Ireland against giant-like enemies whose leader was called Balor of the Evil Eye. Their tale is a lot like the great stories from Norse mythology with Thor, Loki, Odin and the like. So naturally, I made the Tuatha De Danann and their four hallows part of the mythology of “Enoch’s Device.”

I know there’s a sequel. TELL ME ALL OF IT NOW. Or at least give our lovely people at home an idea of what happens in book 2 and any other plans you have for the future.

Without spoiling the end of the first book, Ciaran and his friends still have parts of the prophecy to fulfill, the next of which is a mysterious journey that begins and ends with sacrifice. I won’t give away the journey’s purpose—since that’s part of the central mystery in the next book—but it will take them to a bunch of interesting locations including Stonehenge and elsewhere in England, which was being ravaged by Vikings back then (Vikings are always fun!), as well as to medieval Rome, which holds more than a few secrets in its ancient ruins. There’s a bigger connection to the book of Revelation in the sequel, and even more at stake for Ciaran, Alais, and the people they care about. There will even be a third book before it’s all over, but right now, I’m still working on book two and am really enjoying how the story’s unfolding.

EnochDevice-1400x2240Enoch’s Device is available at:

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Enochs-Device-ebook/dp/B00ARPYW02/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Paperback (Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/Enochs-Device-Joseph-Finley/dp/0988410826/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Paperback (Barnes & Noble): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/enochs-device-joseph-finley/1114021182?ean=9780988410824&isbn=2940016140377

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Author Interview – Mike Martin

Cover WalkerToday I have Mike Martin in the IBRU hot seat, spilling the dirt on his upcoming books.

Mike, thank you for stopping by to chat with us. Could you please tell the folks at home a little bit about yourself?

Hi there. I’m a long-time freelance writer, now turned mystery writer. I am Canadian and live in Ottawa. I’ve been writing fiction for the last five years and have two books published in the Sgt. Windflower series, with another coming out next year. The Walker on the Cape is my first fiction book.
 
We get to follow Windflower through the Elias Martin case from start to finish. What did you have to keep in mind as you were constructing it?
I am a ‘pantser’ which means that I don’t really know what is going to happen next. The Characters talk and I listen and write it down. I just have to make sure that I let the story lead and not try and predict what is going to happen. It’s fun, but kinda like a roller coaster ride. I scream a lot!!
 
Obviously, you are quite familiar with RCMP protocol. How difficult was it to research what the RCMP does through murder investigations?
There is a lot of research required to make sure that you get it right. Luckily I have a few ‘experts’ as part of my reading and editing team who point out mistakes before I get too far. A lot of this stuff is actually common sense, and it is one of the areas where it’s much better to be simple and stick to the facts. Creativity here could get you into a lot of trouble.
Getting glimpses of Windflower’s personal life–his native heritage and his relationship with Sheila, for example–help to round out his character. Will we be seeing more of those aspects in future novels?
Absolutely. The second book in the series, The Body on the T, focuses much more on character development so readers will find out a lot more about Windflower. His character and mettle are tested personally and professionally and he has to rely on his culture and traditions to find strength and support.

What’s next for Windflower and, of course, you?
Book #2 in the series, The Body on the T. is just out in e-book form on Amazon.com and Chapters.ca so that means a lot of online visiting and blog tours etc. And I am working on the next book in the series. Book # 3 will have a special focus on Windflower’s native background including a visit from his uncle who helps him interpret some of his dreams.
That sounds fabulous!
The Walker on the Cape is available at:

Book Locker 

Amazon

Guest Interview: Taylor M. Lunsford

Taylor-8 - Version 2Greetings Indie Readers! It’s another T.G.I. Friday post. Hard to believe how time flies. Today I have the lovely author and editor Taylor M. Lunsford. She works with in the small press publishing industry, which is just one of the many publishing routes author’s can launch themselves in. Without further ado, I’ll launch in the questions that Taylor was so gracious in answering.

1.) Why did you choose small press versus self-publishing or traditional publishing routes? 

I went with small press for a couple different reasons. The first is that I wasn’t having a lot of success going the traditional route. Agents are taking on fewer and fewer new writers these days, and there are a lot of romance writers out there. Amanda Green, my editor, encouraged me to try writing a romantic suspense for Naked Reader Press, so I thought “what the heck” and gave it a shot. Small press gives you a lot more control over your work as far as content, timeline, etc. goes, while still having the safety net of an editor and someone making the covers and access to the different storefronts. It’s also hugely helpful when you’re mildly technologically challenged to have someone to do the formatting and coding for e-books. NRP is very writer focused and knowing the editors was also a big selling point. For my first book, it felt like the best of both worlds.

2.) Tell readers a little bit about your latest release. Is this the genre you love to write? 

The Love in Unknown series is small town romance with a strong vein of suspense. I’ve always loved small town romances, but I hadn’t tried adding in suspense before. Book one, Need You Now, is about the ridiculously sexy mayor, Caine Maddox, and his college sweetheart (and best friend’s little sister), Melody Carr. I love stories where the hero and heroine have a past together, and they have to figure out how to work around it. For those of you who know your Jane Austen, Persuasion (aka my favorite book) had a strong influence on the story.

3.) What other genres draw your interest and why?

I love all aspects of romance. I think I’ve read something in every subgenre and written something in a lot of them (historical, paranormal, fantasy). I’m really into biographies right now. I can’t read non-romance books (don’t know why, it’s a mental block), so I’ll listen to biographies when I’m driving to and from work. My favorite is probably ‘Tis Herself, Maureen O’Hara’s autobiography.

4.) You’re also listed as an Assistant Editor for Naked Reader Press, was this planned or something happened upon? 

Well, as I said, I know the folks who run NRP, so as the only strictly romance writer currently on their roster (Ellie Ferguson is another, but she writes more suspense/paranormal than just romance and Sarah Hoyt writes in pretty much every genre), I was invited to join the team.

5.) As an editor what are you looking for in a book? Do you try to implement the same things in your own books? 

I look for the same thing in a book that I want to write and read. I want strong, interesting characters that are maybe a little bit quirky. I like stories with a bit of a twist or interest that I wouldn’t expect. But mostly I just want to read well-written stuff from intelligent, kick-ass writers.

6.) Finally, what can we expect next? 

Well, with any luck, the short story in the Love in Unknown series, We Own The Night, will be out within the next few weeks. It sets up the romance for book three between Caine’s brother Gage and fashion designer Tessa Styles, and gets the hero for book two—Mel’s brother Micah—Ready to Love Again.

Get a copy of Taylor’s latest book at:

Amazon

B&N 

Smashwords

Connect with Taylor on her Website or at TwitterPinterest, or Amazon

Finally, thanks Taylor for submitting to an interview. Loved having you here and I encourage readers to ask your small press questions about the experience etc.

Author Interview: Dan O’Brien

The Path of the Fallen CoverPath of the Fallen author Dan O’Brien joins me for a quick sit-down to talk about his science fantasy and what comes next.

 

I absolutely loved the world-building in this novel. The city of Culouth, the Fallen, Illigard, even the space station floating above Terra got my brain working. What were your inspirations for creating this vast world?

I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and the idea of world-building was a large part of the sci-fi classics like Dune. It is truly a lot of fun and as my brother is fond of saying, it can get away from you if you let it. I tried to create a distinct enough world that you could see the characters moving through it, without letting my tendency for rambling on take over. 

 

The Path of the Fallen is both a coming-of-age story and a tale full of political strife. Did you have difficulty balancing these aspects?

I really didn’t feel like I did at the time of writing, but I can see how those two themes might seem at odds with one another, or at the very least difficult to manage. Part of E’Malkai becoming the person he needed to be was how the world around him forced him to make decisions, to engage in choices that were necessary to drive his story forward. 

 

You did an excellent job creating your secondary characters. T’elen, Elicites, and Arivene were my favorites. Any chance of seeing them again?

Withough giving too much away, at least one of those characters will not be back. There is a bit of buddy cop scenario for two of the other characters in the follow-up book, Breath of the Creator. I really enjoyed creating the characters who enriched E’Malkai’s world. 

The myth of the Creators is quite interesting as well, especially the way it raises conflict between E’Malkai and his uncle Ryan. Was this something you’d intended from the start or something that you found while researching?

Absolutely. The mythology of the Creators is enormous and POTF really only scratches the surface of what E’Malkai must undergo. I am releaseing the prequel this month, Book of Seth, which is a first-person narrative of Seth, E’Malkai’s father, as he and Ryan navigate the tundra, the Fallen, and what had to come next. A lot of Ryan’s motivation will become clearer in that novel. 

 

What’s next for E’Malkai? For you?

I have a sequel in the works, but the next novel in the series is its prequel, Book of Seth. The sequel, the aforementioned Breath of the Creator, is still being written, but I anticipate a 2015 release. I have variety of other novels out that take place in different universes, as well as a plethora of short and novella-lenth works. Check them out. 

 

Path of the Fallen is available at:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

 

About Dan:

A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Portent, The Path of the Fallen, Book of Seth, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog at http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He also works as an editor at Empirical, a national magazine with a strong West Coast vibe. Find out more about the magazine at www.empiricalmagazine.com.

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Author Interview: David Holley

This is a little late, but I always say ‘Better late then never’. I have the benefit, as a reviewer and author, of understanding that life is busy and I’m thankful that Mr. Holley was able to answer my questions about his novel, EDEN. I will say I enjoyed the interview very much and am happy to share this interview with our readers.

1.) What was your inspiration for this book? 
The adage, “necessity breeds invention” certainly applies here. Prior to writing this book I had worked as an artist across several different mediums. From fine art to street art to graphic design and film making I had pursued several creative endeavors personally and professionally. When I decided to write Eden I was at an impasse creatively. I felt burned out and needed something that challenged me in a way that I had never considered. During this same time I was always an avid reader and when I came to the point when I wanted to read a particular story but couldn’t find it I decided to create it myself. And that is how EDEN was born.
2.) Characterization in Eden was amazing and some characters I loved and there were some I really didn’t enjoy, like Josette, who was your favorite character? Psst… mine were Eve and Noah. I loved them and would be friends with them in a heartbeat. 
Most of the characters are derived from real people who I have known or admired in some way over the years. For example, Noah is loosely based off the real life hero Archie Kalepa. If you aren’t familiar with him I highly recommend looking him up. As a writer I was frustrated by the criticisms that a person like Noah doesn’t exist. I can tell you for fact that people like Noah do exist and they live in almost complete anonymity every day. Other characters like Noah’s father, Jackson, was inspired by my own father who I had lost a long time ago. He was a larger than life character and someday I plan to write an autobiography of his life. The character Mia Sinclair is reminiscent of my own daughter Mia who was 18 at the time I wrote EDEN Book 1. Other characters like Maaka and Pango are channeled through my colorful family of bikers and ex-cons to which I have had the pleasure to grow up with.
My favorite characters are Hiroshi, Mia, Max, Pango and Maaka. Over the course of the next few books Inspector Mason Harris and Randall Wellington will be on a lot of people’s love or loathe list.
3.) Eden’s plot definitely kept me guessing, will readers ever get to know the real reason for all the insanity? 
Of course. I’m no sadist. The story of EDEN was always to be told in a series and because of that not all loops will be closed after each installment. But I can tell you it will be worth the wait and when you find out the whole story I believe it will blow your socks off. All I will say at this point is that there is a plausible explanation for everything and all answers will be provided in due time. Stay tuned!
4.) There’s lots of disasters, technology and some serious information on basic survival tactics. What kind of research did you have to do for this story? 
I spent hundreds of hours online and watching survival programming to learn all the basic necessities. In addition I joined a survivalist group to learn all I could about preparation and the mentality it takes to survive in the wild. I found all of it to be very interesting to say the least. These people are passionate and as much as they hope it never happens you can’t help but think in the back of their minds they kind of wish it does. It’s fascinating.
5.) There were times during the reading I thought the characters were a little too lucky, especially since they had such a talented group of people. Did you give them too many advantages or do you think it’s an equal balance? 
You could look at both ways I suppose. Sure there are several individuals who posses a wide array of talents and skill sets, but even still it doesn’t quite seem to matter in their quest. Every step closer to civilization seems to take them further away from ever really finding what they really want. Which is home.

Purchase a copy of EDEN at:

Amazon

Author Bio:

EDEN is the first novel by emerging author David Holley. After a career in advertising spanning two decades, David found himself burned out and desperately in need of a change. Over the years he worked across several mediums in the art world. Beyond his commercial work he was also known for his street and grafitti art that spanned from New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France. Eventually his street art evolved into fine art and he showcased that work in solo shows in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. It was soon after that period David decided to devote his talents to the written word.
David currently resides in Philadelphia with his daughter Mia, his girlfriend Abby, and his loyal bulldog The Mighty El Toro Diablo.

 

Author Interview: HS Stone

InTheHandsOfChildrenToday I’m delighted to have In the Hands of Children author HS Stone join me for a little one-on-one. After reading his book, I had a few questions.

Even before he could read, H.S. Stone wanted to write a book. Fascinated by the stories that seemed to leap from his kindergarten teacher’s books, he went home and wrote his own book, with illustrations and bound by staples. Of course, since he didn’t know how to read or write yet, the book was full of gibberish. Undaunted, H.S. eventually mastered the ABC’s and continued to write throughout his grade school years, adolescence, and into adulthood. Despite getting a degree and working in a field not related to writing, he continued to pursue his writing passion. Numbers Plus Four, a collection of short stories, was H.S. Stone’s first publication. He followed that with his first novel, George and the Galactic Games, and two additional books. H.S. Stone lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

What prompted the idea for In the Hands of Children? It seems like tough subject matter to tackle.
Like with many stories I write, the original idea from which this story sprung was different from how it eventually turned out. My inspiration for writing the story came from my concerns about how much we rely on technology today and how specialized everyone’s knowledge is. We live in a society that relies on other people to provide most of the things we need – even food and electricity. And God forbid if the Internet ever went down! I wanted to explore what it might be like if the people who have the knowledge to run the world were suddenly gone, and those who survive have to re-learn how to live with what’s left behind.

I really appreciated Kyle’s character, and actually he might’ve been my favorite (though I loved Amy quite a bit, too). Did you intend for him to be a heroic character, or was that something that came out through the writing?

I’m a sucker for heroes who save the day and happy endings in stories, so Kyle was always going to be a hero in my mind. He’s also the type of hero that I enjoy reading about — one who doesn’t know that he is and never intended to be a hero but becomes one because something inside drives him to do good when the situation demands it.

Hannah is a fantastic character, very strong and protective of her little sister. What went through your mind as you were writing her part of the story?

I have two kids of my own, and when I wrote about Hannah and Amy, I tried to imagine what it would be like for them if my wife and I succumbed to a pandemic and left them alone. It’s a horrible thought and a scenario that I hope never occurs, but some of the things that Hannah did for Amy are what I hope my son would do to protect his sister.

Your book has kind of a cinematic feel to it. Is that an aspect of your writing, or did that come through the story itself?

That’s an interesting question. Certainly, the story itself lends a cinematic quality in the way that it was told, but I’m not sure if that’s also part of my natural writing style. It’s not something I consciously decided to do. Now I’ll have to keep an eye out for it in my other books!

What can you tell us about future plans?

Since In the Hands of Children, I published my third book, Beyond New Eden. I’m currently working on my fourth novel, which is an as yet untitled YA sci-fi twist on alien invasions. I’ve always wanted to write an alien invasion story, and I hope this one will be different from any you’ve read or seen in movies before. The plan is to release the book by January of 2014.
Sounds fantastic!
In the Hands of Children is available at
Amazon
Smashwords

Author Interview: Freebooter’s Chris Turner

We’re happy to have Chris Turner here to talk more about Freebooter and his fantasy series.

1. Baus is definitely the king of anti-hero’s, what were your inspirations for writing the character?

While reading a lot of different fantasy, I noted it was always those characters who were off the wall that got under my skin, i.e. the ones with mischievous natures and a grey area built up around them.  The more these qualities they had, the more they fascinated me…The concept of the anti-hero is a dangerous area for any author to explore, especially in any longer work.  Over the years I’ve had a healthy inspiration of Jack Vance, Alexander Dumas and Fritz Leiber as well as Andy Kaufman in the comedy arena…

2. I really liked the character of Valere, are there any plans for his story in the future? 

Yes.  Other readers have expressed that they too liked Valere.  He develops in Book II, Freebooter as a character rich in experience and stability.  He ends up being a major player in this series, actually as a foil to Baus.  There exists a bond between him and Baus, the main character, that is sometimes very intense, yet always supportive, even though the two are really rogues.  Both are comrades in exile—Valere is the older and somewhat veteran vagabond outlaw of the party, who many times serves as the seasoned voice that stops Baus from completely going off into deep water. Like other characters in the story, the twain’s past history is less important than their ongoing deeds and the situations they get themselves embroiled in.

3. What research did you do for this book and did you find the world building difficult or easy? 

I have always been a fan of medieval fantasy.  As a result, I’ve soaked up a lot of old world facts and figures, similarly no small amount of historical fiction. I researched a lot of old ships for Book II—caravels, windjammers and whatnot, tales of pirates, finding out what weapons they used, how they fought, what was important to them, and how hellish it was to be on those majestic ships sailing for weeks on end, with the law close on their heels.  Oddly enough, a lot of the magical powers that come into play by Book III were derived from descriptions of yogic ‘siddhis’, though more as a dark parody, best evidenced by Aurimag the magician.

The ‘outlaw’ archetype has always intrigued me too.  Robin Hood, as a classic example, is almost ‘too good’ a character for where I wanted to take ‘Rogues’.  I wanted a character that was really unpredictable, one who really had no scruples, who also could get away with almost anything and be completely a joker at times, not assessing or caring about the heap of trouble he stirred up.  This was the glue I needed to keep the reader guessing at every step…

As for world-building, I will be the first to admit that it is no easy pastime.  Everything has to be visualized in minute detail.  The setting has to be consistent to the reader, while at the same time integrating with the story and the characters.  The process is so engrossing, that even while working day by day for a lot of years, I must admit that it didn’t really feel like work. I could dwell in those worlds.  I could see the story unfold in greater detail week by week, visualize every seaside cliff, every wild island, gleaming palace, colourful market, prison cell, game and trick played, sea-battle and skirmish, strife and conquest, rivalry and grievance, and weirdly ironic situation.  After throwing in a backdrop of bizarre dialogue, I felt the package complete.  It was a lot of fun (minus the editing!..)

4. As a fantasy writer what is your biggest goal when composing your novels?

To be somewhat original.  This is very challenging in today’s world of wall to wall fantasy numbering in the tens of thousands of titles.  Writing a story that has a lasting impression and is entertaining is a close second.  There may be a lot of readers who will have a double-take reading ‘Rogues’, simply because the style is unorthodox and revolves around an uncharacteristic flamboyance of language, but that is the price to be paid, in my opinion, for a certain flavour of originality.  And after having said this, I would not have done it any another way.

5. Finally, how many books about Baus and his adventures are available and can we expect more? 

Rogues of Bindar is a trilogy consisting of the books: Wolfshead, Freebooter and Redeemer.  The saga is complete by Book III.  An omnibus version exists.  Yes, there is scope for more continuing adventures of Baus, which I hope to write in the future…However, that is a major undertaking and will require more than a few years of planning.

Author Bio:

Visual artist, meditator, writer of fantasy, adventure and SF.

Chris’s books include: The Relic Retriever, The Rogues of Bindar series, Future Destinies, Fantastic Realms and Denibus Ar.

Chris is also a prolific painter, with nearly a thousand oil art works to his name. He has also been involved in extensive studio recording, guitar and keyboard. After graduating from University of Waterloo in Computer Science in the ‘90s he backpacked and biked throughout Europe and Asia before teaching computer programming courses in Ottawa, Canada. Visit Chris at his website

Get a copy of Freebooter at:

Amazon

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Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Kobo

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