Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Twenty Questions Tuesday - Interview with Robert Roman!!!

Hello there, everyone! Today is Tuesday and that means it's...(drumroll please)...Twenty Questions Tuesday!
Today our guest here at The Dusty Rose is Robert Roman!
Let's begin!
1.      Do you have a favorite author or book? What about them appeals to you?
a.       Terry Pratchett.  He manages to combine humor, philosophy, action, romance, and more into a single story, just about every single time he writes.  He’s a storyteller beyond compare, but still manages to have some interesting ideas behind the stories.
2.      Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
a.       I suppose two recurring themes within my stories are what it means to be ‘human’, with a side order of a less downer look at extended lifespans.  The typical current view, of course, being the ‘oh, woe is me, immortal amongst the mortal mayflies’.  Seriously, you give me eternal youth I’m gonna have me some fun with that there.
3.      Favorite literary character? Why them?
a.       Tough call, but today I’m going to go with Captain Vimes.  For the ‘why’, I could go into a lot about him being an everyman, yet an everyman of mythic proportions.  I could talk about how I identify with him, because I’m also knurd most of the time, going through life two drinks low.  I could go on and on about how he sees beauty and nobility in commonplace people and things, while constantly being unwilling to see either in himself.
But I’d rather just say “YOU ARE NOT MY COW!”

(Leslie: Ha ha ha. Captain Vimes. I finished reading Guards! Guards!  not too long ago, the first Terry Pratchett book I've read, so I know who you're talking about. Lol!)

4.      What book are you reading now?
a.       And All the Stars a Stage, James Blish.  Color me unimpressed, but it’s supposed to be one of those ‘classics of the genre’ things.
5.      What genre is your favorite to write?
a.       Don’t have one, really.  Agatha and Penelope put things in my head, and sometimes those ‘things’ include a genre. Sometimes I have to think of one.  Sometimes I miss the one they hand me, and I have to go back and rewrite things.
Actually, I do like juxtaposing genres.  Hence my proclivity for rather long, involved genre listings, like “Steam Punk Christmas Interracial Military Romance with Cyborg Zombies”.
6.      What do you think makes a good story?
a.       There’s no single answer to that.  In general, you need good characters (both protagonists and antagonists), a good plot, an interesting setting, and good prose.  You need to mix them all well.  Some action, some character development, some storytelling.  But I keep finding gems that are missing whole sections of that, so I’m honestly not sure.  It’s why writing is an art, not a science, and why I really get no satisfaction from reading formulaic books.
7.      What are your current Works In Progress?
a.       You’re the first person to write it ‘Works’.  I keep a page on my website (www.robertcroman.com) devoted to the topic, but in case I haven’t updated it recently enough, my current WIPs (in no particular order) are A Christmas Vigil – OR – Crystal Without A Chime (Steam Punk Christmas Interracial Military Romance with Cyborg Zombies, also book Two in the Iron Angel series), XLI (Sci Fi Action Adventure, First book in the Tram & Tenly series), Dregs List (Urban Fantasy Action Adventure, Book Two in Urban Pandora), What Not To Fear (Urban Fantasy Romance Comedy with Noir trappings, sequel to Fae Eye for the Golem Guy), and…  um…  I think I’ve got a SuperHero Action Adventure in the works.  Just a glimmer in the eye at the moment though.
8.      What is the hardest part of writing?
a.       Sitting down and starting.
9.      What’s one guilty pleasure you enjoy?
a.       Facebook games
10.  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
a.       I tend to have dialogue that gets tagged as ‘too witty to be real’ that is actually lifted word for word from actual conversations.  Worse, I forget that not everyone can hear the characters talking, and wind up forgetting dialog tags.
11.  If you could live in a book’s fictional universe for a day, which book would you choose?
a.       Depends if I could bring things back or not.  If only memories, I’d choose the Discworld, preferably Omnia while Brutha was in charge.  If could only bring back myself, definitely To Sail Beyond the Sunset, because I have just too much to do for forty productive years.  If I could bring back anything at all?  Tough choice, but I’d be leaning towards one of the later Aldenata series books by Ringo.  Same reasons, only expanded to others.
12.  What do you like to do when you're not writing?
a.       Games, both video and board.  Reading, of course.  Long involved discussions on the nature of reality with the Ur-Goth.  The Ur-Goth herself when she’s not too distracted.
13.  Tell us about your current book.
a.       My most recent release is The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones – OR – Genesis of an Iron Angel.  It’s a SteamPunk Action Adventure which follows a few hours of two lives.  One is the titular Capricious Jones, an Engineer and adventurer struggling to survive sabotage while piloting an experimental flying machine.  The other is Leigh Adams, a young WAC Engineer trying to adjust to her new posting with the AEF.
14.  How did you come up with the title?
a.       I was proctoring the HSPA, trying to think of a story for a new call for SteamPunk shorts, and the name just jumped out at me.  After that, my love of old radio plays took over.  Hence the double name.
15.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
a.       That transparent aluminum actually exists.
16.  Where and when do you write?
a.       Usually after the kids are asleep, sitting at my desk in the dining room.
17.  Have you ever suffered from writer's block and if so, how do you overcome it?
a.       Not really.  When I can’t get past a scene, it’s usually because I haven’t fleshed out that part of the world yet.  I go in, figure out that part of the world, and things flow again.
18.  If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
a.       I really have no response to that.  Every book is tied up with its author.  With that in mind, I wish I could write like Cherryh, or like Pratchett, but I wouldn’t write their books without being them, and I like being me.
19.  Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
a.       Know yourself.  Know what you’re trying to write.  Let the stories come to you, but don’t let them toy with you.  Make sure your basic craft (grammar, spelling, characterization, plotting) are solid before you start trying to do fancy stuff.  Work your social networking, so when you hit you’ll be able to take off, but don’t skimp on basic craft.  Be like my friend PJ (http://pjschnyder.com/), who by dint of working harder than any human being should have to manages to pull it all off and make it look easy.
20.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
a.       I’ve got more folks who ‘like’ me on FaceBook and read my blog than actually buy my books!  C’mon, folks, toss a nickel in the tip jar, will ya?
Seriously, though, I really hope people enjoy my stories, and hope they’ll give me feedback on what they do and don’t like.  I know my imagination can get a little ‘out there’ at times, so if it ever gets too far, and I’ve dragged by editors along with me, don’t hesitate to tell me I’ve gone all M. Night.
Finally, because she’s my biggest and most vocal fan, Hi Mom!

(Leslie: Thanks for the awesome interview, Robert! And to everyone else - check out Robert Roman's latest ebook, The Strange Fate of Capricious Jones!)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interview with Ellen Keener, Author of Blood Moon!


Welcome! I have had the opportunity to play the 20 questions game with Ellen Keener, author of Blood Moon (which by all accounts is a FANTASTIC read - it's next on my "to read" list).

So here we go: The 20 Questions Game with Ellen Keener

1.      Do you have a favorite author or book? What about them appeals to you?
a.       Oh, this is a tough one. I love Shakespeare. I love Jane Austen. Modern stuff? Katie MacAlister and Bill Bryson. Why? Well, Shakespeare and Austen just knew how to use a word to its full advantage. Katie MacAlister is great fun, and her novels are always full of action, romance, and conflict. Bryson is a travel writer, and I love reading about (and visitinig) new places. I also love his humor.
2.      Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
a.       This is the part where I wax poetic about the meaning behind my words. Sadly, the only meaning I intentionally put there was that you should never give up on love. Even when you think there’s no chance left. Anything else you get, well, if its bad, I didn’t mean it, if its good, it was totally my idea.
3.      Favorite literary character? Why them?
a.       Jane Eyre. She wasn’t gorgeous, but she worked hard and she stuck to what she believed in, and while she had a rocky start, she still got what she wanted.
4.      What book are you reading now?
a.       I’m in the middle of two – Disney After Dark 2 and The Silent Governess. I know, both ends of the spectrum.
5.      What genre is your favorite to write?
a.       I love paranormal and steampunk. I must admit a leaning towards the steampunk side, just because I’m a techno geek.  J
6.      What do you think makes a good story?
a.       Conflict, romance, and a healthy dose of humor.
7.      What are your current Works In Progress?
a.       I’m currently writing a steampunk romance using some characters from a Young Adult story I wrote, as well as the first book in a series. That one is a paranormal/urban fantasy about a family of brothers called the Seven Seals. I think it will be great fun.  J
8.      What is the hardest part of writing?
a.       Not being sidetracked. I have a horrible habit of getting in a tangent.  Other than that, it is keeping my characters in line. I don’t really outline because even when I go, I’ll be writing, knowing where I’m going, get to the bottom of the page, and realize the characters just did something that changes everything.
9.      What’s one guilty pleasure you enjoy?
a.       I don’t know if its guilty or not, but I collect fairytale movies. Lilke I own every version of Beauty and the Beast ever made. It’s a little ridiculous actually.  J If we’re talking food – Sugar pie. It will rot your teeth, but oh man….yum!
10.  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
a.       I have this weird tendency to name all my characters with L names. I don’t know why. I’ve been making a conscience effort to stop. But it still pops up. I also get really nerdy when I’m into a book or just starting a “good part” and will make a tray with china tea cup, sugar, cream, tea strainer, and teapot with cozy to bring back to my “office” with me.
11.  If you could live in a book’s fictional universe for a day, which book would you choose?
a.       Probably Pride and Prejudice. I want to be courted by a man in tall boots and a cravat!
12.  What do you like to do when you're not writing?
a.       Well, I teach, so that takes up most of my time. But I also like artsy things – crochet, drawing, quilting. I love movies and travel as well.  Cooking. LOVE to cook.
13.  Tell us about your current book.
a.       Blood Moon has actually been in the works for awhile. I love my hero and heroine, but I must admit my favorite character is Thaddeus. I just want to squeeze him! I’ll give you the blurb, because it sums it all up nicely.
Fugitive shifter, Aria Legreve, is always on the run. With her own life at risk, she helps a badly beaten shifter to his Pack, knowing the danger her meddling entails. Hoping to use her status as an Outcast and be set free, her world changes when she meets head on with no other than her Mate—who is dead.
Alpha Lukas MacLeod has been searching for his wife for the past year, until Aria walks straight into his lair. Fate intervenes and gives them a second chance. Caught up in an intricate web of lies and prophecies in the making for generations, Aria and Lukas must discover a way to balance the darkness in their world, but will their love be strong enough to save their pack and each other?
14.  How did you come up with the title?
a.       A Blood Moon is an Actual “moon” it’s the Hunter Moon, usually in October, and it is the actual time the book takes place. It was also inspired by “blood on the moon.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s an old omen that means bad things are coming. Did that make sense?
15.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
a.       That my original villain wasn’t right. I tried to make the bad guy from an old story fit into this one. He just didn’t work. So I’ve saved him for other things.  J
16.  Where and when do you write?
a.       I write mostly at night and over the course of weekends. If there’s a thunderstorm, I’m probably with the computer or my notebook. Somehow, they always inspire me. As for where – I write at work before I go home, during lunch hour, at home in my “office/art/junk room,” wherever I can. I recently bought a netbook, so it’s really anywhere I have time.
17.  Have you ever suffered from writer's block and if so, how do you overcome it?
a.       Every writer, no matter how famous they are has. Mine is usually a case of being tired or procrastinating. Sometimes I just give in. Most of the time, I set up a time and force myself to write something for a specific amount of time. I use the Write or Die program too. It’s great because it pressures you into continuing. Thankfully, I’ve never had a dearth of ideas. Just time or energy.
18.  If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
a.       Hamlet. I LOVE Hamlet.
19.  Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? If so, what are they?
a.       Keep at it. Nothing comes without hard work. This isn’t for someone who wants a quick fix. It takes long hours and patience, but it’s worth it in the end.
20.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
a.       THANK YOU! If you’ve read the book, I hope you liked it, and if you haven’t I hope you will. I love feedback, so please stop by my blog (http://ellenkeener.wordpress.com) and say hi. I get ridiculously excited over blog comments and reviews, and I’m totally addicted to GoodReads.  And thank you, Leslie, for the interview!

Thank YOU Ellen, for the awesome interview! I can't wait to read Blood Moon!

-Decadent Publishing's listing for Blood Moon
-Amazon's listing for Blood Moon
-Ellen Keener's Blog