Interviews from the Void: Episode #31 – Sarah Beth

Highlights Why it’s important to finish our work before sharing it with readers. How being in touch with the world and our lives can help shape our writing. Resources for digital art and book covers. Feed your imagination, don’t try to reign it in. Welcome to the thirty second episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with YA and urban fantasy writer Sarah Beth about her stories. From THE FAYE’S SECRET:  “It’s impossible to stay focused on her homework with a ghost staring at her. Every time Abby lifted her eyes from the page in front of her, the woman would be standing there, blood covering her white lace blouse.” Arthur: This is a very engaging first line for a book. In another interview with fantasy writer Bill Ricardi, he talks about the first line and paragraph being his promise to the reader. How did you come up with your starting line and paragraph for THE FAYE’S SECRET? Sarah: Honestly, it takes a lot of time for me to solidify the opening pages of a story. Some people have trouble with the middle, or the end, of books. For me, it’s always been the beginning. The first chapter of TFS evolved a lot, the first chapter now is completely different to the first draft. The presence of a ghost was always there, but even that has changed a lot since draft one.[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #30 – Allison Mullinax

Highlights How our upbringing, favorite restaurants and vacations can have influences on the settings for our stories. The importance of the inciting incident and why it needs to happen as soon as possible. How dialogue is essential to character development and relationships. I have always been over-imaginative, and I think this is a quality that all writers share. Welcome to the thirtieth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Allison Mullinax. From BREAK THE LINE: “The weight of the rod handle rests firmly in the palm of my hand. The feel of it always reminds me of coming home. I may have fished on hundreds of lakes across this nation, and won my share of tournaments, but the feel of a rod in my hand when I cast out the line never gets old. The anticipation of what could be waiting for me under the murky waters sends a wave of chills underneath the seat pooling on my forearms.” Arthur: Tell me about your journey to becoming a writer. When did you start and what would you consider to be a few of your major accomplishments as a writer?  Allison: Thank you so much for having me! I have always been over-imaginative, and I think this is a quality that all writers share. Often times, an author’s day dreams make the best novel premises, and this is exactly[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #29 – Victor Gischler

Highlights How writing for comics differs from writing novels. Over-outlining is a real possibility and should be avoided. Writer should focus more on their writing projects rather than getting published and finding an agent. I was always a reader and I wanted to be on the other side of that equation. Welcome to the twenty ninth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with novelist Victor Gischler. From Victor’s Book, INK MAGE:  Dawn bloomed on the horizon, washing the wide-open grasslands in pale orange light. Lonely and crooked trees a mile apart dotted the landscape like bent old men, their shadows stretching away from them in the burgeoning sun. Arthur: You have a significant amount of writing out there, from comics (X-Men, Deadpool, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) to books (your new fantasy series, A FIRE BENEATH THE SKIN). How did you grow into your writing career? VG: I’ve always loved stories, and as a kid, I was a big reader. That was the start, I guess. In high school, I’d write goofy stories staring my friends. Novels always transported me to another world.  I was always a reader, and I guess I just wanted to be on the other side of that equation. Arthur: What would you consider to be “lessons learned” from your writing career thus far? VG: Sharks need to keep swimming. Writers need to keep writing.[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #28 – Logan Hannen

Highlights A different approach to editing and outlining which allows our characters more freedom. Watches can tell us much more than just what time it is. Why word count is not the most important parameter of your story. I wrote an entire draft that I also trashed because it failed to adequately do what I knew it wanted to do. Welcome to the twenty eighth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Logan Hannen. From Logan’s book, THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW: I remember feeling like I was handcuffed to a tree, but the tree was made of fog and it was starting to swallow me whole. I couldn’t place where I was, or why I was wearing that horribly unfashionable lab coat, or why…anything. Arthur: Your book, THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW, was a wonderful story with an incredible premise: a doctor mirroring the symptoms of his patients. Can you tell me more about the writing process for this book? Where did the inspiration come from? Are there any real-life experiences of your own which fit into certain scenes? Logan: Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it! This book was one I started my junior year of college after having written another book that was, frankly, kind of awful. It started as a simple premise that I ended up turning into this overly[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #27 – Michael Hill

Highlights Why writing outside our genre is essential to honing our writing skills. How screenwriting and short stories can have a positive impact on our writing abilities. More editing resources for writers. It forces me to explore styles and genres I might otherwise have avoided. It’s a terrific way to hone your skills. Welcome to the twenty seventh episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Michael Hill about his wide writing experience and editing resources. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. When did you start writing and how did you get to where you are today? Are there successes and failures you learned from? How did you – and how do you continue – to hone your writing craft? MKH: I’ve been writing most of my life. I wrote my first story, The Bug, complete with stapled pages and an illustrated cover when I was eight years old. Recently I shared a photo of it on my Twitter account, making a joke that I’ve been in the self-publishing game since 1975. However, I didn’t get serious about writing until high school. I took a creative writing class which required a new story every week. I was turning in a story a day. My teacher, Louise DiMeo, was terrific and encouraged my enthusiasm. I sometimes submitted stories written on napkins because an idea hit me at lunch and I[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #26 – Dave Wickenden

Highlights Tips for helping writers promote their work. Performing research for our stories and how our life experiences inspire our writing. Specific tools that read our writing to us to assist writers in the editing process. I rewrote my first novel five times before it was good enough to be published. Welcome to the twenty sixth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with thriller writer Dave Wickenden about his writing and how his life experiences influence his stories. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. When did you first start writing? Dave: I had tried numerous times during my life to write a novel, but life always took over. In 2014, I was on vacation at camp and started writing a story that had been on the burner for a couple years. After returning to work, I realized what I really wanted to do and very soon after that, put in for my retirement. I’ve been writing full time since. Arthur: You have a great variety of life experiences. How do these experiences integrate with your stories? Dave: Having been a first responder, I have experienced PTSD and this is reflected in my first novel. I also have some investigation training which also helped; at least pointed me in the right direction for the information I needed to create authentic stories. During the latter years of my career, I ended[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #25 – S. P. Stevens

Highlights Describing the use of magic and point of view in the fantasy genre. Worldbuilding, creating maps, and immersing ourselves in our own universes. Creating a world where our readers feel the emotion of our characters. “Things” are not important, compared to your health, and ultimately your life. Welcome to the twenty-fifth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer S. P. Stevens about the world of his fantasy stories. Arthur: I really enjoyed your flash fiction piece, A LADY CALLS. What inspired you to write it? Stevens: This piece was inspired by Hurricane Irma (Summer 2017), and by Mother Nature. I’m a visual person and images of people fleeing for their lives really got to me. When a disaster strikes, there comes a point of decision, whether to stay put, or get out – I thought I would explore this idea, and the human instinct to protect your possessions. The moral of the story, if there is one, is that ‘things’ are not important, compared to your health, and ultimately your life. It’s also worth noting that this planet can be quite a beast. Arthur: Tell me more about your upcoming book, RANKERS CHARGE (coming out August 1st, 2018). Did you self-publish it, or publish it traditionally? What lessons did you learn? What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started writing it? Stevens: RANKER’S CHARGE:[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #24 – Katherine Karch

Highlights How we can use “change” language to engage our readers. Writing young adult fiction and garnering more readers for our work. How to make our writing stand out from the crowd. I avoid using the passive voice (was taken). I work to steer clear of the past perfect tense (had given). Welcome to the twenty-fourth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process and their approach to the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Katherine Karch about her blog and her unique approach to writing. Arthur: You have a very cool and unique approach to the writing craft on your blog. In your recent article, “Writing That Hooks Readers,” you discuss the neuroscience behind engaging our readers. As writers, we’re often looking for that great first line and struggle with figuring out how to keep our readers engaged. How did you discover this neuroscience hack? How do you try to hook your own readers? Katherine: I’ve always been interested in neuroscience. My background is in science, specifically in biology. After listening to a podcast in which Joanna Penn interviewed Lisa Cron, author of “Wired for Story,” I became interested in the neuroscience of reading and writing. The proverbial “hook” is a complex notion, particularly in literature. A lot of different elements are involved, but engagement ultimately starts in the limbic system. That’s the emotional center of our brains, made up of a bunch of different regions. I sometimes call it the” deep[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #23 – Benjamin Hope

Highlights Performing research to finding the balance between mood, theme, and story. Upholding our writing craft and storytelling methods in the modern world. Deciding on point-of-view (POV) and striking a balance between the character arcs. That’s what’s wonderful about storytelling – there are no boundaries! Welcome to the twenty-third episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Benjamin Hope about his approach to writing and his new book, THE PROCUREMENT OF SOULS. Arthur: There are many ways we can identify genre in writing based on the words we use. For example, science fiction might include things like spaceships, planets, warp drives, and protomolecules. Fantasy might include warlocks, alchemy, wyverns and scabbards. You’ve chosen steampunk for PROCUREMENT OF SOULS. How were you able to write the imagery so well to illustrate the steampunk atmosphere and what drew you to write steampunk as opposed to other fiction sub-genres? Benjamin: In terms of developing imagery for the reader, I tried to strike a balance between providing enough detail for the world to be imagined with clarity; and giving space for the reader to co-create the world as they read. I tend to think that overly descriptive passages have a tendency to turn off a reader’s interest, especially in this sort of genre. As such, although I am partial to a metaphor(!) and enjoy the poetry of language, I did a lot of research[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #22 – Michael Ronson

Highlights The three-minute approach to naming in our stories. Writing humorous science fiction and how a well-rounded individual makes a better writer. For self-published writers, the only impetus to keep going is self-generated. It took me an embarrassingly long period of time to realize the project I actually enjoyed should be the one I worked on. Welcome to the twenty-second episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Michael Ronson about his writing, humor and approach to the craft. Arthur: I had a lot of fun reading your books. In previous interviews, I’ve discussed the importance of names in our stories. In your books, almost every time a character was introduced, I had to read their names several times – because I was laughing – to make sure I was reading it correctly. Names that are sticking out, besides Captain Space Hardcore, are Master Hoffenhoff, and Pip Tinkle. How do you come up with your character’s names? Is there any importance to them? Michael: The names of my two protagonists – Captain Space Hardcore and Ebenezer Funkworthy – were actually made by a friend of mine. I remember that we were walking somewhere and coming up with as many utterly ridiculous character names as we possibly could, going back and forth, trying to outdo each other. Those two were the ones that made me laugh the most. Captain Space Hardcore[…] [Keep Reading]