Raymond claims that whether set here, or on another world, he tries to craft gripping stories about the human condition. This industrious author certainly is a man of all trades and brings much life experience to his worlds of fantasy. Please welcome Raymond Bolton to No Wasted Ink.
By way of introduction, I am Raymond Bolton. Until my books take off enough to support me, I work as a hairdresser, spending part of every week in both Santa Fe, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon. I am on a plane every Wednesday. I’ve written some poetry, for which I’ve received some recognition, and four novels.
In 2010, having written only nineteen poems ever, I garnered third place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s annual literary competition among over 1,200 entries. More recently, my novels have begun winning significant recognition. In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, my debut novel, Awakening, was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe and Australia in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest. Hailed on BookViral.com as “a grand debut. An ambitious and well considered SF crossover… [that] breathes originality into the genre”, Awakening has received almost all five star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.
I am of the persuasion life is too short to squander. I enjoy fine food, so I have learned to cook. I am endlessly curious about the world around me, so I read and I travel. I like people—who else is there?—so I talk and listen and try to understand what I hear. Over the years I’ve driven trucks, been an FM disk jockey, produced concerts, served as a mainsail trimmer on racing yachts, piloted gliders, written software, worked as a hair stylist and owned and operated my own business—all with varying degrees of success. All have imparted a wealth of experience and taught great lessons. In the course of these doings I have had the privilege of meeting very accomplished individuals in the areas of music, movies, sports, technology, industry, finance and politics. Ultimately, all of this background comes together, struggles to find coherence and emerge in my writing.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing ever since I can remember. It’s something I am compelled to do. If I could say why, I could explain the meaning of life.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the truest sense, I can say my work transitioned from a hobby—a way to occupy idle time—into something more serious in the early 2000s. A friend of mine, best-selling romance author, Brenda Joyce, said one was truly a writer when the story inside burned to come out. I realized they did. Many stories. Since then, I have been studying the craft, attending conferences and entering literary competitions. I am still becoming the writer I wish to be. It’s an ongoing process.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
I am working hard to complete Thought Gazer, the first volume of the prequel trilogy to my debut novel, Awakening (Regilius Publishing, 01/01/14). People call it a sci-fi/fantasy crossover because it treads the ground between the two genres while eschewing the traditions of each. While set on a world with two suns, there is nothing by way of science, nothing by way of magic. Instead, telepaths, or those with unique psychic abilities tip the course of events.
The warlord, Hath Kael, kidnaps Darva, an opposing lord’s sister, to force her brother’s capitulation. When Bedistai, from a tribe of hunters, foils the abduction and undertakes Darva’s return, an ally of Kael recruits Peniff, a telepath, to find the two. Instead, Peniff comes to the couple’s aid, then attempts to rescue his family—held hostage to insure his cooperation—before his betrayal comes to light. This is the story of a man, in all other ways ordinary, rising above his fears to do what he must.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was working on my debut novel and had created a character I found fascinating. Awakening, however, already had more characters than a Russian novel and I knew I had to can him. I really liked him, though, and in time I came to realize he could become the core that drove a prequel.
Do you have a specific writing style?
The language I use has been described as formal. It seems to suit my subject and their almost medieval setting better than the casual language of our day-to-day lives.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
My protagonist reads minds and the title seemed to fit. Like my stories, it told me what I should call it.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Overcome your fears. Do what you must. No challenge is so horrible or so great you cannot surmount it. Doing what is right, rather than what is easy, is one of the most difficult tasks for all of us. Still, when all is said and done, the outcome of having acted from one’s heart—even if it was not what one expected—is the easiest to live with, the best place from which to carry on.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Hah! Hardly. The people I know are truly diverse, but there’s not one mind reader among them. One reads the tarot, another translated the Popol Vuh, the creation story of the Maya, while yet another’s husband is the world’s foremost translator of the I Ching into English, but that’s as esoteric as it gets.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
John Steinbeck first introduced me to how powerful a story one could craft with only words. J. R. R. Tolkien was the man who introduced me to fantasy. Dean Koontz delighted me with the way he turns a phrase. I envy Donna Tartt’s richly descriptive scenes, and sometimes begin to approach them—emphasis on begin. Martin Cruz Smith is a master of combining tension with realism.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
These days, I have to say it is the unparalleled George R. R. Martin. Every page he writes contains a lesson, whether it be dialogue, scenic description, examples of Show, Don’t Tell…the examples are endless.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I am blessed to have discovered Natasha Brown. Her sense of color and form are at once unique and magical—so I guess there is really some magic in my books after all. Some people liken my covers to movie posters.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write from the heart. Write what appeals to you. Don’t dumb down your work in an effort to appeal to the broadest market possible. If your work has depth, if it resonates as something real, something important, something believable on a gut level, your readers will find you.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please support your favorite authors. They have labored for months, or even years, to give you those hours of pleasure you find between their covers. If you enjoyed the experience, take a few minutes out of your life to post a review, whether it be on Amazon or Goodreads, on Facebook or Twitter, even in the blog you use to journal to your friends.
Santa Fe, New Mexico AND Portland, Oregon
Cover Artist: Natasha Brown
Publisher: Regilius Publishing