Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview: A. R. Silverberry

A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. I’d like to welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Peter AdlerA day in the life of A. R. Silverberry:

Wake up between six and seven, roll out of bed, find my cat, and soak up the morning love. Place face deeply into Persian fur and listen to him purr. Pet him until it’s clear what he really wants is food. Promise to continue to fool myself this tomorrow. Clean litter box. House boss now content, retreat to my office. Hammer at words for two hours. Feel happy with what I’ve written. Or not. If not, try not to drive my wife crazy talking about it. Commute 75 minutes, listening to audio books. Currently engrossed in Stephen King’s Dr. Sleep. Twenty to thirty minutes before arriving at day job, give left-brain a rest, turn off book, and tune into classical station. See psychotherapy clients 5 – 6 hours. Listen. Play games on the floor—most of the clients are children. Thank God this is fun! Back in the car and back to Dr. Sleep. Wind down munching on chips and watching reruns of Dance Academy on Netflix. Sleep. Dream, dream about the novel you’re writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I felt the call. That’s something we either listen to or we don’t. If we do, we’re happy and we’re dong our soul work. If we ignore it, we’re on a fast train to a miserable life. Sometime in my twenties I understood this. I had dabbled with writing in the 1980s. I may have the beginning of a few stories lying around. It wasn’t until 1998 that I got serious after reading a slew of Oz books. I haven’t looked back.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I was wrapping up the first draft of my first novel; I saw that I had actually woven a story that held together. But maybe it was before that. My wife had asked me to write a story for her to illustrate. I came up with two of them, but one tale had a clear voice, which, while it’s evolved over the years, is still essentially mine.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?

After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?

Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea came from a conversation I was having where I was using the metaphor of a stream. But the philosophical underpinnings of the story date back years. I did a lot of yoga and meditation starting in middle school. In high school, Herman Hesse’s masterpiece, Siddhartha, had a huge affect on me. Who wouldn’t want to achieve Nirvana? I took a class called Eastern Religion and Philosophy, adding to my understanding and interest in Buddhism. More recently, I’ve embraced the use of mindfulness and compassion in my work as a psychologist. But maybe it really dates back to that sailing trip I took with a good friend and his father when I was in high school. We journeyed up the Sacramento River and anchored in a peaceful byway. Those images found their way into the book.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Everyone does. The trick is to get out of the way of it and let it sing. I’m also a pianist and a composer, so I’m very aware of the rhythm of my sentences, not just individually, but next to each other. If it doesn’t sound right to me, if it feels off, I rework it. I also love the sound of words. Sometimes I’ll choose a word as much because of how it sounds as what it means.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Titles are the hardest for me. I came up with several options and polled my beta readers as well as people who hadn’t read the book. There were several strong candidates, but I opted for the simpler title, which seemed fitting for a fable like this one.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Absolutely, but you’ll never get me to say it! As Stephen King said, you want the reader to feel the emotions, not think. So you’ll excuse me if I just invite anyone out there to feel the emotions of the book. I promise you’ll smile; I promise beauty; I promise darkness descending with a vengeance; I promise hope.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

My wife teases me that I’m all the characters in my stories. That may be partially true, but most of my characters amalgams. Some, though, spring fully blown from who knows where. Those are the ones I love.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

First and foremost, the many peoples across many lands and time who formed the myths and fairy tales that distill what’s at heart in the human condition. One of the first books I saw, The Way of the Whirlwind, my parents bought for my brother and me before we were born. It’s about two aborigine bush children, Nungaree and Jungaree, who set out to find their baby brother, who trickster, Whirlwind, stole. The illustrations were colorful and magical, and made me feel that all things in the world were sentient and animated. Fertile ground for a budding fantasy writer! A fifth grade teacher turned on to The Hobbit, and as soon as I could find The Lord of the Rings, it was all over for me.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

The real life mentor was my father. He wrote a play, Open Secret, that was included in a volume of best one-act plays in the 40s. He also wrote the original screenplay for the movie, Baby Face Nelson, starring Mickey Rooney. He used to play a game with me as kid. We came up with characters with opposing motives, and then made up stories to fit the characters. It seemed like magic to me, and of course, I never forgot the underlying message: characters make your story.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My website designer, Diane Widdon, is also a graphic artist. She did a fabulous job on the cover for the ebook edition of my first novel, Wyndano’s Cloak, so I knew I wanted her for The Stream. For both books, I selected several photos (after sifting through hundreds!) and asked her to work up three designs. There was no doubt which one I would use for Wyndano’s Cloak. The black background, the intensity on the girls face, the sword, the silver lettering, all said FANTASY! Including the cloak wasn’t necessary. Diane came up with two great covers for The Stream. I polled people to see which design would most likely get them to buy the book. The majority chose the mysterious one you see here. I’m keeping the other one, though, and may use it down the road.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write the truth.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

The best part of writing is sharing my work with you. I’ve met you in bookstores and online; many of you I’ll never forget. The most profound thing for me as a writer is knowing that what’s in my heart, resonated in yours.

The Stream Book CoverA. R. Silverberry
Northern California, USA

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The Stream

Publisher: Tree Tunnel Press
Book Cover Designer: Diane Widdon of Novel Website Design

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Author Interview: Kate Wrath

Kate Wrath lives in the desert Southwest and writes science fiction and fantasy novels. I’m pleased to welcome her here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Kate WrathI’m Kate Wrath. I’m a writer and an artist. I live in the Southwest with my husband, my two girls, and my big dog (he would be upset if I left him out).

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing fan fiction with my friends when I was twelve. It quickly became an obsession, and before I knew it, I was writing my own stories. I had written thousands of pages by the time I started high school, and it just kept adding up from there.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a difficult question. I know a lot of writers who have different milestones they feel they need to reach to be considered a writer—paying the rent with their writing, getting an agent…. I think I’m more in the camp that I just am a writer, because that’s who I am. It defines me. People who don’t know I write don’t know me at all. I’ve felt that way for so long that I couldn’t tell you when I first thought of myself that way.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Yes! I have just released E, a dystopian novel about a girl who has been “erased”. She’s lost her memories, her family, her whole identity, and she is thrown into this harsh world where everything is set against her. It would be really easy for her to just give up and die, but she won’t. She does what she has to, and she manages to scrape a life together, but that’s only the beginning. Everything she loves is endangered by conflicts that are happening around her, and if that’s not enough, her unknown past is also calling to her. There’s a lot of action, but the story is character-driven, so prepare to get attached to the cast. E is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride through danger, romance, friendship, despair, and love in its purest form. I am continuing the story in a second book that I hope to have out by the end of the year.

What inspired you to write this book?

E was entirely subliminal, at least to start with. Most of the time I work off of inspiration. An idea strikes and I run with it. With E, I wasn’t planning to write a novel. I’d been working on another long-term project, and was feeling a bit burnt out on it. One night, I just felt like writing. For me. I had no idea what I wanted to write or what it would be about. Just that it was something new. I sat down with a pen and notebook and began writing, literally not knowing a single thing that would come out on the page. Needless to say, I was a little surprised. For a few days I just went with it, and let the story take me where it wanted. Several days in, I sat down to type it up and thought, Wow, I’d really better figure out where this is going. So I approached the rest of it in a more organized fashion, though I wanted to keep the spontaneity of it, so I allowed myself a lot of freedom, and wrote with a lot of unknowns.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write a broad range of things, but the one thing that is common in all my writing is that it is character-focused. When I read a book, I want to know the people in it, and if I finish the book and I don’t, I feel unsatisfied. Plot is important, yes, but I feel like the most intriguing plots are born out of the intricacies of the characters and how those all play together. I really know my characters—sometimes too well—and I think that my readers will walk away feeling like they are real people. They are complex and they have reasons for what they do, and they’re not the canned stereotypes you find everywhere. I mean, seriously, there is nothing I hate more than the villain who wants to bring misery to the world “just because”, or the hero who cannot be corrupted. I’ve never met anyone that flat, and you won’t meet anyone like that in my novels either.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

E was my working title, meaning it came to me quickly and out of the blue. Several people have commented on it. Peculiar. One letter for a title. Shouldn’t I give the audience more? The answer is: no. I like its ambiguity. It’s a very important letter in my novel—it’s almost too obvious what it stands for. But the truth is it means a lot of things. And I like things that mean a lot of things. J

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is not so much a message, but there are some important themes. As a writer, I put a lot of thought into the decisions I make in my writing, and it is always exciting when someone really “gets” what it’s all about. But often readers aren’t looking for that stuff. Maybe it makes it through subliminally. But I think that’s the thing about a good story—you can enjoy it on a lot of different levels. With E, I think there is an entertaining read and a moving story on the surface, but for readers who want more, there is definitely more to find.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, not directly. But it would be impossible to write a novel that doesn’t draw on my own life journey, so in a way, yes.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I have to say, recently I read Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, and I was just blown away by all the depths of it, and the poetry of the language. I also adore Suzanne Collins for wrapping up The Hunger Games trilogy the way she did. She didn’t take the easy route, or even the most sellable story, but she said what she had to say, and she did it without preaching. I think the books were so much more powerful and profound for that decision. I really respect that.

When I was growing up, I read a lot of different things. My mom read us a lot of the classics, and those were very happy times. I love Shakespeare, for the language, and the many layers, and the great switcheroos. I could talk a lot about all the books I love, and how they have influenced my life, but I can’t say I ever thought much about authors or truly appreciated the craft of their works until I became one myself.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

If I had to choose… I’d say Wendy and Richard Pini (even though I don’t know much about them), because I got my start and found my passion writing Elfquest fan fiction… ah so many years ago. So in a way they are responsible for me becoming a writer.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Me! It took days on end, lots of coffee, and it is a wonder my computer survived. I really think graphic designers must be the saints of all saints. They must have endless patience. Or maybe they just know what they’re doing.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing! Haha, that’s actually a joke because when you go to a writer’s conference you hear that so many times you just want to choke on it. But yeah, really, keep writing. The more you write, the better you get. Also, don’t worry too much about taking advice from other authors (like me), or trying to fit yourself into a box that someone else has contrived. One thing I’ve learned from talking to other authors is that the author experience is different for all of us. Do what you’ve gotta do. Do it why you’ve got to do it. And do it in your own timeframe. Oh yeah, and develop a thick skin, and be as dogmatic as a rabid pitbull, because there is no one else out there (no matter how much they love you) who is going to believe in you as a writer as much as you do. So yeah. Keep writing! Rawr!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you. Authors are not authors without readers. *Big hugs*

E Book CoverKate Wrath
Southwest, USA

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Author Interview: Dean J Anderson

Please welcome Australian author Dean J Anderson to No Wasted Ink. He is a writer of paranormal fiction.

Author Dean J AndersonHi, Dean J Anderson is my name. I live in Central Queensland, Australia with my wife and son in the small coastal town of Yeppoon. Best of both worlds, beach and bush in my back yard.

My real world job has changed recently. It sees me developing, building and fitting out a vegetarian/vegan/healthy foods option restaurant called Cafe Calma, in Rockhampton, the beef and 4 wheel drive capital of Australia. Yes, I do like a challenge or I am possibly insane. Maybe both.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader since I was 13. In 2008 I had a story so vivid in my mind that it wouldn’t let me sleep. I put pen to paper Christmas day 2008 and haven’t stopped writing since. I started writing late in life so I made up for it the first two years.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After joining the Bundy Writers Club in 2010, I began to learn more about the art of writing by attending WriteFest and other writer events. I met other authors who had been published and began to see that what I was doing wasn’t just entertainment for myself. There, other writers read my work in critique sessions and I got good feedback on my stories. I later teamed up with a freelance editor to improve the manuscripts.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Unnaturals is a Dark Urban Fantasy- romance action I guess is the best description. It is set in current day Australia. The story is about the Douglas family who find themselves fighting for survival as a family, clinging to their humanity. The Bloodells want them dead, the Darkells become reluctant allies. Soon, unexpected relationships form and sparks fly, as desire inspires them. The very definition of family changes when not all are human.

What inspired you to write this book?

Ha, I had a ‘what if’ moment while camped out on a headland one night. There under the clear sky, no lights for kilometres, the Pacific Ocean thrummed under the sand. Campfire gazing, I asked myself how my ‘normal’ friends would react to meeting the non-human side of my family.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I make the reader think. I’m not overly descriptive, and write with a sharp, fairly fast pace.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I wanted to say in one word what the tone of the story is. Unnaturals says a lot, not human, not mainstream etc.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, by our standing together as a family, regardless of how it looks to the outside world, it will always make you stronger and win the day.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Our life experiences always help you write believable characters. A writer’s imagination takes real life and recreates it into a fantasy.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Tolkien, is the first fantasy author I ever read. Followed by Anne McCaffery, Steven Donaldson, Sara Douglas, Raymond E Fiest and Janny Wurts. They do it for me in Fantasy. The paranormal writers that I like are Anne Rice, Poppy Z Brite, and Laurell K Hamilton. They really had a huge influence on me with their strong female lead characters and voice. More recent influncers are Keri Arthur, Stephanie Laurens, Amanda Bridgeman, Anne Gracie, Sandy Curtis and Cheryse Durrant. All of whom I’ve met. All of them make it hard for me to stop reading until the book is done.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Laurell K Hamilton. She has survived the ups and downs of writing such long series over the years. Has multilayered relationships for her characters and I like her voice.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My publisher handled the cover design.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write whenever you can, whether it be a paragraph or a whole chapter, get it out and onto paper.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Unnaturals is a new world. The Douglas family, Mason, Ruth and Wilson are unique. Come meet them and the Darkells in Bondi, Australia.

Also, buy your mum a flower today, no reason, just do it and enjoy.

Unnaturals Book CoverDean J Anderson
Queensland, Australia

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Publisher: Clan Destine Press Melbourne

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Author Interview: Nikki Broadwell

This week’s author writes fantasy with a bit of time-travel and romance stirred in. If you like myth and dragons and magical boats, you’ll enjoy this indie author. I’m pleased to introduce Nikki here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Nikki BroadwellMy name is Nikki Broadwell and I live in Tucson, having relocated from Portland, Oregon two years ago with Jim, my husband of nearly thirty-five years, and Buddha our standard poodle. I love the dirt road that leads to our house, the Catalina Mountains in the distance and the myriad trails that wend their way between our house and those rocky peaks where I can walk my dog off leash!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved to write but I became serious about it around eleven years ago. I took a writing workshop in order to get some ideas about structuring a fictionalized memoir about my father’s experience in a Japanese prison camp during WW2.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I called myself a writer after the bug took hold of me and wouldn’t let go–so probably when I was about half way through Wolfmoon Trilogy.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The book I’m working on now, Gypsy’s Return, is a sequel to Gypsy’s Quest and follows the heroine, Gertrude from Milltown, Massachusetts to Far Isle, a place in a dystopian future where corporations rule.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote a trilogy entitled, Wolfmoon, but at the end of the third book we don’t know what happens to Gertrude, one of the main characters. Gypsy’s Quest is her story, told in the first person.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told that my writing is very visual so I guess it would be called cinematic? Besides description, I love dialogue and so a good portion of my stories unfold through conversations.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The Gypsy series refers to the main character’s heritage as well as a magical boat name Gypsy, that could also be called a character.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message is about saving the earth for future generations. I know, that sounds didactic, but the message is revealed through action, story and character development.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not really, although some of my own concerns about oil exploration are a part of the themes in the books.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I love Kurt Vonnegut, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, A.A Milne, Lewis Carroll, Margaret Atwood, Joanne Harris, Tom Robbins and many many others. I have always been an avid reader. I like the themes these authors explore in their stories and their disparate writing styles.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I’m sure I’ve gleaned all sorts of information from reading these authors, but not any one person stands out for me. But I do think that Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, started me on the road toward fantasy writing.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Viola Estrella designed the cover for Gypsy’s Quest as well as The Wolf Moon, and my redo of the cover for The Moonstone. I plan to hire her to do Gypsy’s Return as well. She is very good. I highly recommend her work!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you decide to go the indie route, make sure you have your book well edited before you put it out in the marketplace. And don’t let anyone tell you how to write or what you should write about–follow your own muse.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I feel honored every time someone reads my books and has something nice to say. Having people enjoy my books is paramount!

Gypsy's Quest Book CoverNikki Broadwell
Tucson, Arizona

Gypsy’s Quest
Airmid Publishing
Cover Art: Viola Estrella

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Author Interview: Catherine Cruzan

I’ve known Catherine for quite some time, we seem to bump into each other at author related events constantly. She is also a fellow member of the OC Writer’s in Southern California. I am pleased to introduce Catherine here on No Wasted Ink, she’ll make a daydream believer out of you too.

Author Catherine CruzanI was born and raised in Bloomington, MN, but I moved to Southern California in 1984, so I’m really a California girl at heart. Since graduating from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, I’ve been working as a structures engineer for different aerospace corporations in and around the Los Angeles area. About 10 years ago, between working as an engineer and teaching dance classes, I began writing more seriously. I studied in the UCLA Writer’s Program and at Long Beach City College. They had an excellent creative writing staff there at the time.

I must have a split personality or something, because there are so many wonderful things to experience in the world, I can’t seem to pick one thing and settle down. I want to do it all. I love my motorcycle, and my blue celestial parrotlet, Jasmine. I’m a period costumer, and a cosplayer; as well as a scuba-diving, sky-diving, hang-gliding kind of girl. I like to get really geeky sometimes, while other times I need to get out there and get some wind in my hair.

When and why did you begin writing?

My interest in books started as a child. I had a voracious appetite for reading. It’s my mom’s fault really, because she read to us a lot, and I loved it. As soon as I could read for myself, I wasn’t waiting for those snowy days when we’d pile onto her bed to hear a story. I always had extra books in my backpack, and an eye open for the next new Fantasy or Sci Fi series I could sink my teeth into. It became my escape when things weren’t going well in my life.

Climbing into a book was the best medicine for my fears and frustrations. I would rather hang out in Xanth than face the bullies at school. I could ride a dragon, jump through gates to other worlds, or put on a golden ring and fight wraiths when things weren’t good at home. And when I was bored or lonely, the pages were my best friends.

I published my first story in the 8th grade, when a teacher put my homework (a short story about forest animals facing hunters) in the school newspaper. I didn’t even know she’d done it until some of the other kids started coming up to me to ask about it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a tough one really, because I’ve never really defined it. I was just always in the habit of writing things down my whole life, from grocery lists to my bucket list, from a poetic phrase to dialogues between characters that don’t even appear in any of my stories yet.

I have this crazy collection of napkins and post-it notes I keep in a box under my desk, which I raid often and replenish constantly.

But I guess I didn’t really feel like a *writer* until I was neck deep in classes at UCLA, trying to hone my craft. When I could no longer suppress my desire to write well and publish, that’s when I began actually calling myself a writer. That’s when it all changed for me.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

It’s about a young woman’s quest to avenge her family and save the Elves.

Lariel has lived a life of privilege as the daughter of King Tallen, and heir to the Tallen throne, until the captain of the King’s Guard betrays the Tallen family, murders the king and takes possession of his lands. On the run and in exile, Lariel finds refuge in the distant north at the heart of the Elvin kingdom, where she discovers her secret heritage. She is Elfkind, not fully human, blessed with the gifts that come with Elvin bloodlines. But will her new skills be enough to overcome the dark powers awaiting her as she endeavors to reclaim what was taken from her?

What inspired you to write this book?

This book is a culmination of daydreams. I used them to return to the world after losing a major relationship in my life. So imagine my surprise when, thematically, the book turned out to be about loss – experiencing it, coming to grips with it, and moving on with purpose. It also touches on what I consider key tangential elements to loss – forgiveness and redemption.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write deep point-of-view (POV), character-driven stories. I climb into my characters’ heads and live there while I write. If there’s a narrator voice in what I do, it’s not by design. I want to feel like I’m living what they are living; and I want the reader to experience that too.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

In touching on aspects of humanity, I ruminated over what makes us different, yet what makes us all the same. What motivates anyone to do anything? What shapes our character and our temperament? What is good, bad, beautiful, ugly, right, wrong….? Basically, what comprises humankind? What are you if you’re not truly a part of humanity, but are of Elvin blood as well? Not human, not Elvin. You are Elfkind.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If you want to be your best, you need to find out who you are on a fundamental level and be true to it. Yes, let the world shape you in wild and wonderful ways, but never lose sight of your best qualities. Don’t let the hard times dissuade you from your truth – that you are loyal, or clever, or considerate or brave.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

You will find glimpses of my friends, family and strangers off the street in everything I write, because I steal from life and then put it in a blender. I have borrowed snappy attitudes and simple winks, compulsions to do the right thing in misguided ways, yearnings for love and the fear of it, even some physical traits. But I promise you, if I ever find myself nose-to-nose with a Grahze, I’ll probably wet myself and then run away.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

This list is long and eclectic, ranging from Tolkien to Drew Hayes, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Watterson and David Mack. Robert Jordan, China Mieville, Tad Williams, Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, George R.R.Martin, Scott Westerfield, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Tim Powers, Bradbury, Heinlein, Asimov, Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allen Poe… . I could keep this up all day, so let’s stop here.

The key is rich, character-drive story that compels the reader to do more, to be more, to think more, to question more. These writers embody adventure on the page, and entertainment that stimulates the mind. What could be more inspiring than that?

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I consider Tim Powers my biggest mentor. He is the reason I didn’t flat out give up and walk away from writing when things weren’t happening for me. He has taught me so much about the craft and about the business, I cannot even express. He’s an amazing teacher – encouraging, smart, talented, and able to convey things clearly to his students. We walk away better writers just for listening to him and trying again.

My agent/author/friend Denise Dumars is a terrific mentor as well. She was the first person to really have faith in me and my work. She put herself out there to get me published, and I dedicated the book to her for that reason. Elfkind is as much her baby as it is mine.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The cover of the book was designed by my publisher, Hunt Press. There are also a couple of illustrations in the body of the book by artist Sarah Banning. She is amazing. She’s a wonderful blend of American and Manga style with an outrageous eye for color. I love her coloring. I was lucky to stumble upon her through a mutual friend. I’ve got her working on some stuff for the next book now, and I can’t wait to get my greedy paws on it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I cover a number of topics on my website which I consider critical to the craft. But the bottom line is: You have to write. You have to sit down and do it every day. Find your method, your motivation, your tenacity to keep doing it even when you can no longer explain why you would even try.

Listen to what your mentors tell you, and trust your instincts. Do not confuse ego with instinct. Ego has to be set aside if you want to improve, and we should always want to improve. There is no glass ceiling on being better.

Go read David Gerrold’s Worlds of Wonder whether you’re writing genre fiction or not. It’s loaded with compelling, enlightening information that will make you a better writer.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Only that I hope you love this story as much as I do. I look forward to your feedback on Amazon, so please take a moment to rate it if you have the time.

Elfkind Book CoverCatherine Cruzan
Long Beach, CA

Elfkind
Hunt Press, Los Angeles
Illustrations by Sarah Banning

AMAZON