Essays

Wolf’s Bane is here!

There were moments when I thought Wolf’s Bane would never come out. I started writing it in 2012, and it has gone through many rounds of beta-readings and even more rounds of rewrites, then proofreading, and followed by more tweaking since. I was determined that the book following The Purple Morrow would be as good as it could possibly be despite being an independently published book.

Why was producing this book such a challenge?

WolfsBane_Cover_2015_smashwords

There are a few reasons. Bane is my third completed novel but it is also the most complex one I’ve written to date. After having enjoyed building the world of Marathana so much, I wanted to explore it more fully and give readers more of a taste. This meant delving deeper into the various cultures and belief systems, creating new characters and people groups, exploring new terrain…no small challenge. As well, Bane is a bridge book, connecting the story’s beginning to its end, and it was a challenge to find the right story balance. Some betas felt there was too little back story, others that there was too much. And as the author, I didn’t want to give away all the secrets too soon, nor did I want to leave the story so bland that people wouldn’t want to advance to the final instalment. Finally, finding the right balance between my two main characters was tough. Morrow is Jeru’s story and Bane is Kelen’s, though both men are integral to each other’s lives, destinies, and the overarching storyline. It was a big challenge and I hope I did both characters justice.

Wolf’s Bane owes its existence to many people, and I will include them here. It’s been a long road to get here so if I forget someone please, please forgive me:

Beta Readers: Judith MacNamee, Authonomy’s Christian Lit Forum members, Zach Bonelli, T.A. Miles, Joshua Evans, Katie Cross, Bernard Cullen.

Thanks to my writing group for their support, enthusiasm and helping me feel that being indie is cool. And special shout out to Cora Siré, who gave me pointers on the poetic sections of the book.

To the Quebec Writers Federation for supporting local writers and for being an excellent resource over all (workshops, networking opportunities, etc.) It’s great to be around people who love writing so much.  

Thanks to William Bryan Miller for proofreading. He was quick, professional and on time!

To Phil Partington for keeping me grounded and for being a tireless listener (‘Being a writer is so hard!’). To Cairo Amani for having more infectious enthusiasm than anyone I know. And when it comes to editing, she’s almost as terrifying as Phil. To my super-talented sister Amy Hands for providing me with fantastic digital paintings of Jeru, and more recently, Bane’s  cover wolf in all its raging glory.

And to my family. Kids, you guys keep me motivated and I’m thrilled that you are proud of me. And to Sam Lampron, my super-supportive husband, for designing my book covers and for encouraging me to keep pursuing this ‘writing thing.’

Wolf’s Bane is available NOW at Smashwords and its affiliates. It is available now via Kindle on pre-order and for purchase as of Feb. 27, 2015.

 

Essays

Author Interview with Fantasy Writer Joshua Evans

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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!