THE WORD ON THE .NET

Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Category: Interview

Blog Tour: “Witch Hunt: Of the Blood”

This week I am hosting five, count ‘em, five talented authors as part of the Witch Hunt: Of the Blood book blog tour. Following the success of Devin O’Branagan’s original novel Witch Hunt, they have come together to compile an anthology of five novella-length stories to answer some of reader’s remaining questions and to flesh out Devin’s witchy world.

I caught up with them via the ultra-modern medium of email to get a brief inside scoop:

Me: Devin, what was the inspiration for the original Witch Hunt novel, and how did you develop those ideas in your follow up novella, Of The Blood Of Witches?

Devin: I was inspired to write the original Witch Hunt as an exploration of the dangers of religious fanaticism. In my novella Of the Blood of Witches, I further explored that issue via both the witches and their hostility toward Christians because of historical persecutions, and through one of the Christians who reacts with disgust upon discovering the woman he loves is a witch. There is no spirituality within religious fanaticism, which is emotional, judgmental, and self-righteous. It doesn’t matter what one’s religious faith is, if there is hatred, then there is not spirituality.

Me (question put to the other four authors): What aspect of Devin’s writing inspired you to write your novella, and what is the individual spin you’ve put on your story that makes it unique?

K.L. Schwengel: Devin’s tag line sums it up: Art should be fearless. Her approach to writing and to telling her characters’ stories is bold and fearless, and she pulls no punches.

I’m not sure how to answer the second half of this question. I don’t know that I consciously put any kind of spin on my story, outside of my writing voice. I like to keep things tight, and not dive into long descriptions, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks on their own.

Krista Walsh: The subject of the Salem Witch Trials was my first inspiration, but I also appreciated how much Devin included under the surface of the story. Each character was trapped in different ways, which left so much material to work with after her story ended. With the structure I chose for my story, I was able to play with some nightmares and what-if scenarios for Bridget and Rebekah’s characters.

Keri Lake: The women in Devin’s original Witch Hunt novel were strong and nurturing.  I found these traits to be most inspirational for Miranda’s character, a physician in 1918.  I think what makes The Banishing unique is the science that I’ve weaved into the supernatural.

Suzanne Hayes Campbell: Of all of Devin’s books, I think the characters in Witch Hunt were the most fully realized. That made for exciting reading—each chapter became a time capsule in the story of the persecution of a group of people. While the Hawthorne family of characters in each of the historical chapters were different—juxtaposing them with the struggle of the modern Hawthornes held the story together. It was brilliant—and that inspired me. While my novella is much simpler, dealing with one small set of characters in a specific time period. To some degree I did rely on that family struggle as an underlying thread—but in my story it manifests in a single character’s quest to find herself and her place in a world that betrayed her. If I put a “spin” on it, I suppose it was to give her a crisis of faith—in her heritage, her beliefs, and in herself. Ultimately, she comes to know that everything that matters is the same to every people—just clothed in different costumes.

———————

Well, there you have it: fiction writing based on themes with depth and characters that have compelling personal stories to tell. And now your appetite is whetted, here are some more details from Devin:

You’ve closed the cover on Witch Hunt, but the story isn’t over … yet! I’ve handpicked writers to take up my characters’ stories and explore what happens next.

The anthology begins with my own novella about Hawthorne matriarch, Vivian. Vivian and her fellow British witches work together to prevent a Nazi invasion during World War II. Then there is Colonial maiden, Bridget, who struggles with the guilt of failing her family in Salem, 1692. Her younger sister, Prissy, mysteriously disappears and finds another magical world. Julia, torn by family loyalties, love, and her spiritual quest, pays a huge price to continue the bloodline. And Miranda uses her powers against the great influenza outbreak of 1918—but finds the ultimate foe is prejudice against her kind.

Discover what was left out of Witch Hunt and revisit your favorite characters with these exciting novellas. The story isn’t done until the battle’s lost and won.

———————

This anthology contains novellas by Devin O’Branagan, Suzanne Hayes Campbell, Keri Lake, K.L. Schwengel, and Krista Walsh.

All five authors of the anthology are available for discussion at Devin’s writers’ forum. This is the link to chat with them: Chat With The Authors!

Witch Hunt: Of the Blood is available in both print and eBook formats and may be found at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords. (Smashwords provides copies compatible with almost all types of eReaders including Sony, Apple, Kobo, etc.) It is also available internationally via Amazon worldwide!

Two of the stories in this anthology are bridges to the upcoming sequel, Witch Hunt: Resistance, which will be released in 2013.

The original Witch Hunt is an international bestseller first published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. It has been translated into German and Turkish and is consistently on the bestseller lists. It is the story of 300+ years in the history of a family of witches, from the time of the Salem trials to a modern-day witch hunt. It begs the question: could it happen again?

Witch Hunt is available as both a paperback and an eBook. It is available at AmazonB&N, and Smashwords.

———————

Devin O’Branagan can be found at: www.DevinWrites.com“Art Must Be Fearless!”

Three Unlikely Members of the Elite Group Known as “Writers”

Today I am hosting three writers as part of Michael Brookes’ Elite: Dangerous author interview series for Frontier. Michael has kindly given me permission to use his interview questions for the sake of consistency, but when I told him who the three writers were and asked if he wanted to host their interviews on his blog he muttered something about, “… unprofessional,” and, “… inappropriate,” and, “… a nightmare for Frontier’s PR department.” Then he said, “No!” quite emphatically.

So, going boldly where no one has gone before, let me introduce my three guest writers who are competing for the Elite: Dangerous game’s writer’s pack to help it to reach its Kickstarter funding goal. Just click on their pictures for their bios:

Dee Pression

Dee Pression

May Nia

May Nia

Nic Histrion

Nic Histrion

1. Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?

Dee Pression: I don’t know why you’re asking. Well you’re probably just trying to be nice, but no one’s going to care about me, so you don’t have to bother.

Nic Histrion: I am a writer—of science fiction of the most sublime kind. I will dazzle and amaze. You can ignore these other two. I’m all you’ll ever need.

May Nia:

IamawriterandIputwordstogetherbecauseIlovewritingWritingisthebestthingever!

Don’tyouthink?FreelyexpressingmyselfisutterjoyTherereallyisnothingbetterthanwriting—

 

2. When did you first start playing Elite and why did you come to love it so much?

Dee Pression: I started playing Elite after waiting for what seemed like forever for the game to load from cassette in the olden days: I was young, naïve, and full of hope.

Then I kept ramming the space stations during docking. When I did dock, the prices of my goods were always higher than I’d bought them for. Pirates kept attacking me, even when I only had two cargo canisters of food on board my ship. The graphics were terrible—just lines—and the sound, don’t get me started on the sound. I never loved it. I just didn’t have any friends so I played Elite.

Nic Histrion: Played? I never played! I lived it and through me Élite lived. It and I were lovers. It seduced me with its graphics, and in return I pleasured it with caresses from my fingers.

May Nia:

Istartedwhentheybroughtoutthecolourfulversionbecauseyouknowcoloursmakemefeelhappy

andIlikethatalltheshipshaddifferentcoloursandtherewasthenoiseofthelasersandthatwasfun

andIlikedtoflynexttoplanetsandthesunsbecausetheyhadlotsofcoloursbutIlikethesunsbestbe

causetheywerethebrightestbutflyingthroughspacewasboringunlessyouwerejumpingorin

hyperspacebecausetheyhadpatternsandyouwentreallyfastandIlikegoingfastand—

 

3. Have you reached “Elite” status in game?

Dee Pression: I’ve never managed to achieve anything, so it was never worth trying. I was proud of reaching “mostly harmless”, even though it took me three years.

Nic Histrion: Reached Élite status? That implies I was anything less than the best. Élite is a state of mind, a state of being. Élite is everything I am, everything I do. And, Dahling, I mean everything. *winks*

May Nia:

NoInevermadeittoElitebecausetradingwassodullandIcouldn’twaittobuyabeamlasersoIbattled

everyonewithmypulselaserandthatwasfunbecauseitmadecoolnoisesbutthenIdidn’tlikeit

becauseitoverheatedandstoppedfiringquicklywhichgotboringandthenIgotshotandblownupby

theothershipsbutthenitwasfunagain’cosbitsofmyshipwouldflyaroundthescreenwithabig

“boom”noisebuthenitgotboringwaitingtoloadanothergameand—

 

4. What inspired you to start writing?

Dee Pression: Nothing inspires me. I just get so bored and writing is a little better than staring at the wall, or trying to cut my wrists, or taking those pills, or sitting in the car with the engine switched on. I can’t even get that right, they keep finding me.

Nic Histrion: What do you think? You tell me. There must be something about me you find fascinating—everybody does. How could I deprive the world of this? I was born to write, and the world was born to read me.

May Nia:

Forsomereasonpeopledon’thangaroundtolistentomeverymuchIdon’tknowwhybecauseItalk

fastsotheyshouldn’tgetboredbuttheydon’tseemtolikeitanywayandthentheyleavebutwhen

writingIcanputallmythoughtsonthepageandthenIcansharethemwithpeoplewhocanreadmy

bookattheirownslowspeedand—

 

5. You’re gathering funding to secure the writer’s pledge on the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter – how’s that going? And where can people go to support your effort?

Dee Pression: It’s not, going I mean. Stopped. Dead as a dodo. Kapput. Crapped out. Defunct. Busted. It’s stalled a third of the way there. I don’t know why I even tried. It was bound to fail from the start. Me? Raise thousands online? Everyone’s laughing at me, and who can blame them?

Nic Histrion: I am hurt, wounded by the core, that it has taken more than a day to raise a few thousand pounds. I despair for the future of gaming, literature, and humankind in general. I mean, isn’t it obvious what they are missing out on if this doesn’t get funded?

May Nia:

It’sgoingreallywellIonlyhavetoraiseanother3200whichshouldbeeasyasIhaveafewdaystogo

andthingsalwaysworkoutforthebestdon’ttheyandIknoweveryonewilllovewhatIwriteandpeople

aresogenerousandlovegivingmoneyawayand—

 

6. Do you have a story idea if you’re successful with the pledge? Can you tell us anything about it?

Dee Pression: No, because I’m not going to be successful because nothing ever good happens to me, so what’s the point in thinking of a plot for a story that won’t get backed, won’t get written, and so will never be read? I’ll be penniless, unknown and unacknowledged until I die—I just know it.

Nic Histrion: Ah… You would love me to share all my most intimate secrets, wouldn’t you? Naughty! *winks again*

May Nia:

WhenIheardabouttheEliteKickstarterIstartedtowritestraightawayI’venotsleptsinceIfoundout

overaweekagoandbywritingthroughthenightIgetsloadsdoneandIammoreimaginativebecause

Iseestrangethingsandcoloursandsoundsthatotherpeoplesaytheycan’tseeandIreckonI’m

abouthalfwaythroughbecauseI’vedone400000wordsbutImaytryandwriteaseriesofbooks

beforemyKickstarterfinishesonthe23rdofDecemberandIthinkpeopleliketoreadseries

becausetheycangetmoreintothecharactersand—

 

7. Do you have any other writing that we can read?

Dee Pression: No. Writing is too much like hard work; in fact if I even think about writing I get a headache. I try to do as little as possible—everyone knows it just gives you arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, RSI, and migraines, not to mention psychosis and a loss of connection to reality. Who needs all that?!

Nic Histrion: I have worlds of words and a universe of beauty inside me, but I’m going to make you wait to read it, unless you’re nice to me… *raises a seductive eyebrow*

May Nia:

OhlotsandlotsandlotsandIknowyou’llloveitIthinkI’veprobablymanagedabout38novelsthisyear

andIreadreallyfastsoeditingiseasyIjustworrythatIwon’tfindapublisherthatcanprintbooksasfast

asIcanwritethemand—

 

8. What makes the Elite universe so interesting to write a story in?

Dee Pression: Interesting? It’s set in space isn’t it? Space is empty, except for balls of rock and fire, and some gas and dust floating around in it. I know it’s big, but does that make it interesting? Just sounds like there is more of it to bore you, really.

Nic Histrion: I will make the Élite universe interesting! My main character will, of course, be based on me. What could be more interesting than following my adventures? They’ll be so much scandal: the romance and betrayal of star-crossed lovers intertwining against the backdrop of a beautiful of my fashioning. What reader could wish for more?

May Nia:

It’shugeandbigandprettyanditsgotshinyshipsandbrightlasersandstarsthatareprettyandBIG

planetstolandonand—

 

9. Why do you think you can write a great Elite story?

Dee Pression: When I’ve saved enough money, I’ll hire a ghost writer who can do the hard work for me. They graft and I get my name on the cover. Nobody is buying books these days anyway, so I might not bother.

Nic Histrion: Are you trying to wound me? I’m a sensitive soul, so you have to treat me gently! I refuse to debase myself by baring my soul to doubters. If you cannot see my talent, then you are a doubter too. *pouts*

May Nia:

IwritereallylongstoriesandIthinkthosearebetterbecauseyoucansaymoreabouttheplotandthe

charactersandthethemesandaboutlifeandmypacingisexcellentbecauseit’ssofastpeople

won’tgetboredand—

 

10. Do you have anything else you’d like to share with us?

Nic Histrion: After your last question, no. Not until you apologise and make it up to me. You are going to apologise aren’t you? Because you know making it up to me will, well, you know it will be special, don’t you? *raises one eyebrow*

May Nia:

I’vegotlotstoshare!Icantellyouaboutmy38novelsandmyplansformyEliteseriesbecauseI’m

sureyou’dlovetoreadthemallandI’mgoingtosetupafanclubtomakeeveryoneashappyasme

and—

Dee Pression: What, like personal stuff so people can post it all over the internet and laugh at me behind my back? I don’t think so. I don’t like you, or your questions. Now leave me alone.

 ∞

After reading their responses, I think Michael may have been right… but if you want to help a writer who is more serious about their own Kickstarter-funded Elite: Dangerous book, then please click the link below:

Out of the Darkness, An Elite: Dangerous book, by T. James

Get Your Facts Straight: An Interview On Research For Writers With Rich Weatherly

Today I would like to introduce a longtime online friend of mine, Rich Weatherly, a writer who specialises in poetry and short stories with a modern-day or near-historical setting. He may single-handedly be pioneering the literary thriller as a genre. As well as being an all-round “good egg” as we British like to say—because all non-British know we learn English from Mary Poppins-like matriarchs—Rich is also methodical and thorough. So when it comes to meticulous research, Rich can definitely “bring it”—who says I don’t cater for a broad cultural audience? Anyhow, he seemed like the ideal person to answer a few questions on research and its importance in the writing process, so without further ado… Continue reading

Steve McHugh Subjects Me To His Quickfire Questioning In Order To Test My Worthiness.

I am humbled by Steve’s charity this week as he has deigned to interview me on his blog. There was no denying his masterful intellect, powerful personality, and unparalleled bravery – he’s about to have his third daughter and has no sons, as yet, for moral support.

I was subjected to insightful questions that probed my innermost being, and was found wanting. To restore my honour a geas has been placed upon me, and I must leave this humble blog for a little while until my quest is completeth.

Click here to show your support as Sir Steve, nobbly knight of the realm, protects his Lady at this bounteous time.

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On Steve McHugh: The Man, The Myth, The Legend, & His New Novel, “Crimes Against Magic”.

Over the past few weeks I have been following Steve McHugh’s blog posts of the first chapters of his soon-to-be-released novel, Crimes Against Magic. (Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2) I’ve been enjoying the writing—it’s clean, dynamic and engaging, and it has a plot and characters with enough depth to keep readers hooked until the end. Here is Steve’s summary:

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, but those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth century France. It’s the first in a series of books called the Hellequin Chronicles, which shows the life of Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a sixteen-hundred year old sorcerer.” Continue reading

An Interview with Anne Michaud: Writing, Creativity, and Wild Swan.

 As I’ve recently discovered, creativity is a fickle thing, sometimes abundantly overflowing, at others, full only of empty promises. The elation of success, and the frustrations of failure, are part and parcel of the writer’s life, except for the lucky few. So, as my thoughts turned toward the nature of creativity, it happened I came upon a series of tweets from writer Anne Michaud about her forthcoming novel, ‘Wild Swan’. I asked some questions, and the more I found out, the more intrigued I became. Here was a writer in the grip of an unstoppable creative maelstrom. Ideas more subtle and profound than anything I had witnessed before were filling her head from dawn to dusk. Dumbfounded, I could only look on in admiration, and awe.

A tidal wave of envy swept through me. I must tap into this bounteous outpouring, before my own dribble of inspiration dried, and rather than a writer, I was left a mere shrivelled husk wearing human shape. So, unable to contain myself any longer, I decided I would risk it all and ask Anne for an interview. Humiliation, rejection – these only would have been my lot had Anne refused. However, she has been incredibly gracious, and deigned to grace my humble blog with her presence. It is my honour, pleasure, and nefarious plan to introduce Anne, and Wild Swan to you now… Continue reading

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