Essays

Quickie Update

Hi all! I’ve been away for a loooong time and I feel I should provide an explanation.

Truth is, I just got overwhelmed with ‘doing’–running to this and that event, running to this writing group or that workshop, reading, writing, following social media, reviewing, blogging–it was all too much so I just stopped.

stop-sign-2I’d been in this place before–feeling as though no matter how hard and fast I ran I could never keep up–and it sucked. So, it was cut stuff out, or go nuts. Besides, I wanted to spend more time writing. After all, that’s the purpose of all this, right? We run around promoting ourselves to sell the books we write, and we blog to communicate about our passion for writing as well as about those fabulous books. But we write because that’s what we were born to do.

So I kicked social media and all the rest to the curb for a bit, sat back, and wrote.

writing image

 

I have been rewriting the third book in my Rise of the Papilion trilogy, weaving together the half manuscript I wrote last year with new material. It is a big job, a huge puzzle getting all the disparate pieces to fit. But it is coming together, and this time I’m not rushing. Rather I’m letting the thing breathe, adding or rewriting as the story comes to me.

Sadly, I haven’t published any new stories on the blog lately, mostly because the most recently written pieces have been submitted to magazines and I’m waiting the responses. I did write a story called Falling Free which I hope will be turned into a short comic by the grace of my super-talented sister, illustrator and soon to be animator, Amy Hands. (Click on the link to check her out on deviant art). I’ve also been journaling and writing poetry, basically just seeing where the creative muse takes me. Journaling was something I used to do a lot but had stopped, thinking: What’s the point? I’m never going to read this again. But I went back to it, and rather than pages of “blah, blah, blah”, I closed the notebook with vignettes, focused thoughts, and spontaneous literary expressions scrawled across the pages. I understand this to be a development of a new character’s Voice. I’m certain that, at some point, it will all come together to create a new kind of story for me. More on that to come.

In the meantime, here’s what’s coming up on the blog in the next little while:

– author interviews with Scott Toney of Breakwater Harbor Books, and Susanne Leist

– guest post by the wonderful author and all-time best supporter Belinda Hughes

– more book reviews

– new posts on writing and the writing experience

– info on the release of the paperback version of Wolf’s Bane, which I hope to release in the next 2-3 weeks

– updates on ongoing and new writing projects, including Berserker, book 3 in my fantasy trilogy

Thanks to everyone who reads, shares, comments on and otherwise supports this blog! Also, I’m always looking for people to collaborate with, so if you have an idea drop me a line!

Essays

Author Interview with Fantasy Writer Joshua Evans

joshuaevans

I’m really excited about today’s interview feature. Joshua Evans has been a great supporter of this blog and my own writing for a long time, and he has proven himself to be a fantastic beta-reader. So when I got to interview him I was thrilled! It was great to learn more about him, what inspires his writing, as well as a bit about the new Kickstarter project, Vixle, he has started (info at the end of the interview). So, please stick around and have the utmost pleasure of meeting Joshua Evans.

Hello, Joshua! So happy you are here with us today. Can you start things off by telling us a little about yourself?

I’m Joshua Evans, a writer, husband and father. I work a day job to support my family while I work to get the writing gig off the ground. When I’m not doing that, I like to do some gaming, reading, or catching up on shows I’ve missed.

Are you interested in other forms of artistic expression besides writing? What keeps you motivated/inspired to write?

I have a guitar that I’d like to spend some more time learning. I’d also love to be able to draw so that I could do my own comics. Reading other authors keeps me motivated for my own work.

What forms of writing and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?

My first love is epic fantasy. I enjoy the sprawling worlds that you can get lost in and a story that I can really invest myself in. I write some SF as well, but the large majority is fantasy. People often tell me I could write romance, but the genre doesn’t hold much interest for me. I also don’t think I’d write a good mystery story. Maybe those are just challenges for another day.

lol Never say never!

I’ve read books which annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw them across the room. As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?

Well, I’m not going to throw my kindle across the room, but I know what you mean. One author that I love ended a book with his characters jumping over the edge of a cliff. The next book wasn’t out at the time, and I haven’t gone back to it yet. I just couldn’t believe he ended it like that. My other big annoyance is characters I just don’t care about. Which is much harder to quantify. So I’ll take the easy answer of ‘Don’t end your book on a cliffhanger!’

 Lol Literally!

As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Well-rounded, believable characters I think are the most important. Followed by a plot that is interesting. I’ll combine the two in characters who do more than simply react to the things that happen around them. The characters have motivation and desires and work to achieve those things. I rock some dialogue between characters and it comes easy for me. I find that I’m usually light on description in general, places where they are or things the characters observe. That can be good or bad.

Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what your write?

Tamora Pierce with her Alana series was my first foray into the fantasy genre. After that, I found Terry Brooks and his Shannara series and it was the beginning of the end. I realized a few months ago that I was writing in a style similar to Brooks’ Shannara series. I’m telling a story, then adding an extended period of time and telling the next story in the same world.  That leaves me the option to go back and fill in the gaps later if I like. It also gives me a chance to work with new characters.

Very interesting concept. Might have to check those books out for myself.

What draws you to your preferred genre? What do you think makes your genre unique? And why is it so popular? (Or perhaps less popular than it could be?)

I think the scale of everything in epic fantasy draws me to it the most. There is a certain permanence to the world, where events carry over and have impact on more than just the characters in the story. I constantly hear that interest in fantasy is fading though every time a giant door-stopper comes out, I see people who have read it straight through in a number of days. I also think that genre is another tool, whether you’re telling the story using dragons or aliens, the story at the core is still the same, just the dressing on the outside is different. Most important to me though is that I enjoy it, so that is what I tend to write.

I agree. I think fantasy is very popular today, but it’s such a vast genre with so many sub-genres that many people might not even realize that what they are reading is considered fantasy.

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?

I’m editing my first Dwarf Lords novel (title TBD) about two dwarves searching the dark tunnels where they find a forgotten kingdom and more than they bargained for. There just aren’t enough stories featuring dwarves in the world, so I am stepping in to fill that void. I have four other novels completed in the same world, mental outlines for another 4-6 novels. All in due time.

 Nice. I’d love to read books about dwarves. Let me know when it’s ready!

Do you promote writers on your blog? Why is that so important to you?

It’s not something I do currently, though I’d definitely like to get into it more. So if you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, let me know!

Deal!

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

Making time to write/edit is usually the hardest aspect for me. With a job and family, my schedule starts out full. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, just have to make sure I devote the time required to this.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

Other than the above, I’m also a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson. Joe Ambercrombie (probably obvious), Karen Traviss, Timothy Zahn, Jim Butcher, Richard Kadrey, Ian McDonald…. and well, I could go on but this would get to be too long.

What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into the horror or suspense genre?

Set daily quantifiable goals for yourself. Even if it is a small amount, you will see that you have made progress by the end of the year. Then reassess your goals for the previous year and adjust accordingly for the new year.

How can readers get into contact with you?

I blog sporadically (I’m trying to be better about a schedule) at http://www.joshuadevans.com

I’m also on G+ at https://plus.google.com/u/1/+JoshuaEvans.

Also today, we are launching a Kickstarter that I’m very excited about. It’s called Vixle, and it is a collaborative game creation system, set in an interconnected metaverse of worlds. I am creating fiction for one of the worlds which is connected to the game. If that sounds interesting to you, you can take a look at http://www.vixle.com/

Thanks for being here today, Joshua. I hope you enjoyed sharing your passion for writing with us. Readers, please drop him a note below letting him know how much you appreciated the interview, and also check out his contact links as well as his Kickstarter project.

Have a great week!