Tag Archives: books

Author Interview: Nicholas C. Rossis

It is my pleasure to introduce up and coming author Nicholas Rossis, an avid reader and author of fantasy, science fiction and children’s books here on No Wasted Ink. I hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did.

Author Nicholas C RossisHi Wendy, many thanks for having me here. My name is Nicholas Rossis, but I write under the pen name of Nicholas C. Rossis. As a friend said, it’s like Clark Kent’s glasses. No one can identify me when I use that middle C! I write fantasy, science fiction and children’s books, while I also have a special, ongoing love affair with short stories.

When and why did you begin writing?

Ever since I remember myself, I have enjoyed writing. At school, many of my classmates dreaded essay-writing, whereas I could count on my essays to be read in class. In 2009, I felt ready for a career change and decided to try again my hand at writing. A Greek newspaper had a segment called 9, that included a short science fiction story each week. I submitted my story, not expecting much. They published it, and sent me a cheque for 150 euros. I was ecstatic. Sadly, by the time I had written and submitted another couple of stories, the newspaper had ran into financial trouble and discontinued that segment. So, I sent one of the stories to a short-story competition, and, to my great surprise, won. The story was published in an anthology called Invasion.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Right after receiving that first cheque! :D

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

Sure! I am currently working on three projects, actually. One is my second children’s book, called Musiville (you can actually read my first one, Runaway Smile, for free on my blog.

My second project is my second collection of short stories, to be called Infinite Waters. I love short stories, and they are one of my favorite genres. This collection includes many of the shorts I have written in the year since publication of my first collection, The Power of Six.

My third project is Pearseus: Endgame, the fourth book of my epic fantasy series, Pearseus (fifth if you count Schism; the prequel to the series). It continues the story from where Vigil left. Although the main threat has been dealt with, the two main factions on the planet are preparing for all-out war. The characters are forced to fight for what they believe in or lose it all. The remaining story lines will be wrapped up in this last volume.

What inspired you to write your books?

My first inspiration is, surprisingly enough, sleep. More precisely, my dreams, which often morph into stories during that special time of the day when you lie in bed half-asleep. My second inspiration is, of course, reading. There are so many wonderful ideas out there, and they act like seeds in my head, to bloom at night and transform into new stories that just have to be written.

Do you have a specific writing style?

As you can probably tell from my cross-genre writing, I prefer the stories to tell me the genre they’d like to be written in. However, yes, I have gradually developed my own style – or, as I like to think of it, found my own voice. This is an ongoing process, of course, so it’s constantly evolving.

There are many stylistic similarities in my work, although there are obviously genre-specific differences as well. Still, I’d like to think that a discerning reader will have little trouble identifying my work from someone else’s.

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

I’ll focus on Musiville here. My illustrator and friend Dimitris Fousekis is currently illustrating it. The idea is that animals-musical instruments share a picturesque village. When they all start carrying their own tune, an unexpected invader wreaks havoc. The title, Musiville, seemed very appropriate for a village full of musical instrument-shaped animals!

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

There are many messages, but, in my experience, everyone reads books differently. You sit down and write, then analyze what you have written. I can tell you what my personal take is on each story, but that assumes you and I got the same thing out of it.

For example, I got a strange call from a psychologist family friend the other day. She said she loved Runaway Smile, my first children’s book, because it said exactly what she had been struggling to convey through her own unfinished book: that all men would turn into criminals if not for the mother’s love.

When I indicated that this was not my personal understanding of the story, she refuted me, explaining that I obviously did not understand what I had written.

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

I have this theory of creativity, that builds on Jung’s archetypes. These are unconscious structures that live in our soul and help us organize our lives and make sense of things.

According to my theory, everyday experience filters down to the soul, where it is shaped by the archetypes into novel forms. Artists of any kind are able to regurgitate the new creations back into their consciousness, in order to share them with the world.

This is a long-winded way of saying that yes, I think that all experiences in my books are based on everyday experience. However, it would be hard in most cases to pinpoint which experience gave birth to which passage, as they get all mangled up on their way into my unconscious and back.

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

I love Philip K. Dick’s works, and find him tremendously inspiring. Indeed, I consider him a modern-day prophet. His short stories taught me everything I needed to know about that genre, while his many ideas have repeatedly found their way into my work. Then, there are Tolkien and Martin, two of the main influences in fantasy: Tolkien practically invented the genre; Martin redefined it. Also, Clark and Asimov, who showed us how science fiction needs to be rooted into hard fact, to be believable. Their work, and especially Asimov’s Foundation series, have heavily influenced Pearseus. Finally, there’s Herbert, whose Dune series has also been a main influence. In fact, I couldn’t be happier when a reader described Pearseus as “a cross between Dune and Game of Thrones”!

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

That would have to be Dick. I’m currently reading his Exegesis, which is in effect his personal correspondence, and am fascinated by it. Indeed, Exegesis is the best trove of wonderful ideas, as far as I’m concerned.

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

I design the covers of my books, with the help of my childhood friend and illustrator, Dimitris Fousekis. He’s the one who has illustrated the Pearseus logo and the scales, and done all the illustrations for my children’s books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t bother with writing, unless you’re passionate about it! It’s not an easy profession, in the sense that it can take years to build your audience and make a name for yourself. So, for a long time, you may have to work late nights, write whenever you have time and spend a lot of time “normal” people spend socializing, working on manuscripts that no one might even see.

If, however, this is fun to you – as it is to me – then, by all means go for it. Never before has publishing been so easy, with the advent of self-publishing. Just make absolutely certain that your manuscript has been professionally edited and proofread before submitting to Amazon, Smashwords etc!

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

As I often joke, the only thing that grows faster than my waistline is my list of books to be read! So, I really appreciate it when people take time off their busy lives to read my work. So, the one thing I wish I could tell them is that I love each and every one of them! I wish I could give everyone who has read my books a cookie. Heck, a whole basket for those who have reviewed them!

Book Cover The Power of SixNicholas C. Rossis
Athens, Greece

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Cover Artist: Dimitris Foussekis
Publisher: Delta Ekdotiki.

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No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksMonday’s are my favorite day because it is when I share my links with you. This week has the usual general writing tips, but there is also a nice review about the editing tool Grammerly, a science fiction related essay about AI and an article about medical practices during the regency era. I hope you enjoy them!

Writing 5 Minutes A Day – How Much Can You Really Get Done?

Dialogue Writing Tips from Bartleby Snopes

Is Grammarly a Good Tool for Professional Writers?

Regency Medicine

Cory Doctorow: Skynet Ascendant

Writing in an accent: trouble ahead

The Ubiquitous Servant

FIRST LINE CATCHES THE READER

Want to Level Up Your Fiction? Take the “Dramatic Irony” Challenge!

5 tips for introverted writers

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksEach week, I surf the internet to read articles about the craft of writing. Of these, I save the best I found and share them here with you. Welcome to No Wasted Ink and enjoy.

Putting Readers First – An Interview with Publishizer’s Founder Guy Vincent

Publishing: Has anything changed since the 19th century?

Neil Gaiman: How Stories Last

5 Stupid Grammar Rules You Should Never Follow Because They Make Your Writing Worse

PLANNING TO OUTLINE YOUR NOVEL? DON’T

How to build a book audience: 6 smart methods

Will Readers Find Your Protagonist Worthy?

The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups

Planning a Book Release Party

The Complete List of Creative Distractions and Defenses Against Them

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksMondays are always my favorite because this is the day I am able to share the best of the articles that I have read for the week. There is lots of great stuff to read, so pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy yourselves.

Why All Authors May Have a “Hybrid” Future: Veteran Children’s Author Kristiana Gregory Goes Indie

“Let’s talk about genre”: Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation

Creativity may be genetically linked with psychiatric disorders

The Strange Rise of the Writers’ Space

13 “Tells” of a Novice Writer

Stealing From Your Own Life: Your Way To A Storyline

Word for Writers, Part 4: The Review Tab — Viewing Options

Six Ways of Finding Great Ideas for Writing

Eyes On the Ground

Wish I’d Written That Years Ago

Author Interview: Robert Mullin

Robert Mullin is a cryptozoologist who has traveled to Africa three times in search of a living dinosaur. He was featured on an episode of the History Channel’s television show, Monster Quest. I am pleased to welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Robert MullinMy name is Robert Mullin, and I am a couch potato who has traveled to Africa three times in search of an animal whose physical description matches that of a living dinosaur. I am interested in a number of eclectic subjects, most of which reside just off the borders of the known realm.

When and why did you begin writing?

Though I had done a number of smaller projects in my early years, I didn’t begin writing in earnest until I was in college, when an English teacher told me, upon reading one of my papers, that I was going to be a writer. Coincidentally, my cousin and I were playing with the beginnings of a story at the time, and I decided to see if my instructor’s words were prophetic.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably not until I finished my first “real” novel in 1998 and realized that, clunky as it was, it was a complete, coherent story with the potential for broader audience appeal.

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

Bid the Gods Arise tells the story of two cousins sold into slavery on another world and getting caught up in the machinations of an ancient evil that hunts their souls. The series is a mythic hybrid drawing from a number of genres, from epic fantasy to supernatural to science fiction. These are not set at odds with each other, but part of the whole cloth of the narrative.

What inspired you to write this book?

My late cousin and I used to take walks and talk about movies and novels we enjoyed. One of our laments was that there were a great number of stories whose premises were sabotaged by poor execution. While we’ve all seen a number of well done but unoriginal films, we felt that most of the really interesting stories that could have been truly great were lackluster because the treatment did not meet the high bar set by the concept. Perhaps somewhat arrogantly (or at least naïvely), we set out to rectify that with our own story, borrowing liberally from various things we found interesting, but in a setting entirely our own. All good authors steal, but the smart ones file off the serial numbers, so I don’t tend to reveal most of my inspirational sources.

I can say that my Star Wars fandom has probably played the most significant role in terms of how I approach the fiction itself. While that series, like most masterpieces, is inherently flawed, I very much identified with the notion of trying to make the unfamiliar familiar, and utilizing grand mythic themes to tell otherwise simple human tales. I tend to prefer mystical/spiritual fantasy to magical fantasy, so in that respect as well the story borrows heavily from the Star Wars model. I deliberately tried to stay away from the fantasy/sci-fi clichés of unpronounceable names and implausible magic systems, and instead focused on real, memorable people who are the true heart of this cosmic drama.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so. I grew up reading the classics, so I had to unlearn what are now considered bad habits for writers. I have not read the works of most of the authors I have been compared to, so I can’t really say how accurate those comparisons are.

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

The title literally woke me up one night as I was still working on one of the early drafts. It seemed to sum up the primary theme of the novel and have a unique cadence. It might be a bit like catching lightning in a bottle; the tentative titles for the subsequent novels in the series don’t have that structure though they will feel consistent.

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

I prefer readers to draw their own conclusions. Like Tolkien, I “cordially dislike allegory,” and “prefer history—true or feigned—with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers.” I don’t think it’s possible to read Bid the Gods Arise without knowing where I stand on certain things, but I would hope that I do not bludgeon readers with my worldview, but rather allow it to shape the tale just as most authors do, consciously or unconsciously. I suppose that if there were one thing I would hope people take away, it would be the notion of hope and choice in the face of what appears to be fate.

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

The relationship between the two primary characters is an oblique homage to the relationship I enjoyed with my own cousin, and one of the recurring dreams the visionary character has is a dream that used to wake me up at night when I was a boy. The other characters and events generally draw more from history, the classics, or people I know secondhand. My travels to Africa did help shape a few elements, but they came after the first drafts of the novel were done, so they aren’t overt.

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

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, Herman Melville, Timothy Zahn, to name just a few. Each one of them has taken me to other worlds (or at least far away and exotic places), and the latter, more contemporary, has the gift of getting me to turn the pages without being aware of the fact that I am reading. The authors I most admire have created worlds to which I long to return, either because of the magic of their storytelling or the power of their convictions.

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

C. S. Lewis, because of the approach he took with his novels. He and Tolkien decided that when no one was writing the books they wanted to write, they would just have to write them themselves. That’s something I can definitely identify with. But I also very much admire the way he integrated his personal apologetics, philosophy, and worldview into his novels. Lewis was a brilliant man, and I would have loved to sit at the feet of the master and learn all I could from him.

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

James Cline of Kanion Rhodes Studio. He had done the covers for a series done by a friend of mine (K.G. Powderly’s Windows of Heaven series), and I actually suggested him as a possibility for my fellow Crimson Moon Press author, J.C. Lamont. After he proved that he was able to visualize some of the unique concepts for her books, I talked with him about my own.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to publish the first book before the second is complete. Get off Facebook. Don’t let life stress you out to the point that you forget to write.

Oh, wait, this is supposed to be advice for other people.

Read everything you can, and learn as much as possible about the craft. Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist. If you think you’re ready to publish, sit on it, finish the second book, and then go back and revisit the first.

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

Thanks for taking the time to let me talk to you, and I look forward to feedback from new readers! For the longsuffering fans waiting patiently for the sequel, please do not give up on me.

Bid the Gods AriseRobert Mullin

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Bid the Gods Arise

Cover artist: James Cline
Crimson Moon Press

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE