Category Archives: Author Interviews

Interviews of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors

Author Interview: Stephen Hall

If Matthew Reilly (who writes all those fast-paced adventure novels) and Douglas Adams (who wrote The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy) had a love-child… well, that’d be really weird. Not to mention impossible. But if they DID, that love-child might write a little bit like Stephen Hall. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hello, I’m Stephen Hall. I’m a writer and actor, a father to one daughter, a husband to one woman, and a meal ticket to one Staffordshire Terrier. I have one sister and no parents. For the past four decades or so, I’ve mostly been trying to make people laugh.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved entertaining people, telling stories. I suppose the first professional writing I did was writing my own standup comedy material, which I started performing a week before my 18th birthday.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I was first officially employed as a writer in 1996 – with a contract and everything – when I got a gig writing gags and sketches for the Australian TV sketch comedy show Full Frontal.
FUN FACT: That’s where Eric Bana got his start!

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

I’d love to, Wendy! Symphony Under Siege is a rollicking sci-fi comedy adventure set 512 years in the future. On a Thursday morning. It tells the story of the 5-star luxury space cruise liner the Symphony of the Stars, as it’s raided by desperate space pirates in search of the secret fabulous treasure hidden somewhere on board. This playground for the ultra-rich now becomes a battleground for the two crews, as their two headstrong captains circle ever closer to their fateful showdown.

Did I mention one of the cruise ship’s crew is a serial killer? That’s just one more thing the cruise ship captain (highly-decorated ex-navy Captain Diana Singh) has to contend with.

The story’s fast pace is a product of its serialized beginnings, with chapter after chapter of cliffhangers, daring escapes, twists and turns and there’s-no-way-they-could-have-survived-that! moments…..
Oh, and I’ve tried to put in a lot of gags, too.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’d wanted to write a novel for ages. As my 50th birthday approached, I bit the bullet and vowed to finally DO IT before I turned 51. I told my wife and daughter, then I devised a framework to hold me accountable; releasing one chapter online every week, for 52 weeks. Those 52 mini-deadlines were exactly the motivation I needed to stick to it, and get that first draft done. I’m happy to report I met them all, and the original serialised version of the novel is still online, right here: http://www.thestephenhall.com/novel-chapters/

And I always knew that I’d be self-publishing it. I was confident I could do that part of the process, because I’d done it with my previous (non-fiction) book How To Win Game Shows.

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

When I started writing it, I didn’t have a title in mind; I just trusted that one would present itself to me… Then, as I neared the end of the writing process (and I knew what the story actually was) I came up with a shortlist of three potential titles, and ran a survey! I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers to vote for one of the three options, and Symphony Under Siege won hands down. So Symphony Under Siege it was.
And is.

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

I don’t know about a message, as such – this is just a rollicking, escapist adventure. It has virtually nothing to do with life on earth in 2021. There’s nothing in it to remind you
of our global pandemic,
of our seemingly endless lockdowns,
of the continuing harmful – and sadly, successful – spread of misinformation, ignorance, arrogance and fear,
of the continuing global climate emergency or
of all the petty things that divide humanity being exaggerated and incited by The Powers That Be to overwhelm all the beautiful things that unite us.

Not referencing any of that – or even hinting at any of it – in the book is all deliberate on my part… perhaps that’s as much of a message as anything.

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

I wish! No, this is all just invented adventure… probably born of being such a Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Star Trek fan, and all those old Saturday afternoon matinee serials I’ve watched as well.

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

Terry Pratchett, Ursula LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, Tim Winton, and Robert Louis Stevenson are some whose work I really enjoy. I tend to enjoy speculative, imaginative fiction with a sense of humour on the slightly dry side. And Dickens – how could I forget Charles Dickens?! When it comes to serialised novels, Charles Dickens wrote the book.
(In regular monthly instalments, you understand…)

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

Oh, I think Douglas Adams was pretty brilliant, wasn’t he? That mix of wacky, brilliant sci-fi concepts and laugh-out-loud (and very British) comedy gets me every time.

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

The cover was designed by a Venezuelan studio called The Kicke Studio. I found them on Fiverr, after commissioning concept sketches from 5 or 6 other artists. I knew I wanted the image to feature my luxury space cruise liner at the moment just before the pirate attack. Although I’d described the ships’ appearances in the novel, I’d only done a few rough sketches of what I thought they might look like. I hired a number of artists to design the two ships based on my descriptions and sketches, and I instantly fell in love with what The Kicke Studio submitted. I’m really happy with the cover they painted for me, and I look forward to teaming up with them again for the sequel!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

A writer writes. Don’t wait for the muse to strike – just write something, anything! The worst thing you did write is always better than the best thing you didn’t write. Remind yourself what fun writing can be – what fun writing should be!

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

Yes. Thank you for reading this far.


Stephen Hall
Melbourne, Victoria (Australia)

FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
TWITTER
WIKIPEDIA
IMDB

Symphony Under Siege

Cover Artist: The Kicke Studio

AMAZON
KOBO
Books2Read

Author Interview: Christiane Knight

Author Christiane Knight is an artist, poet, and writer. She is a lifelong enthusiast of faerie, folktales, forests and fauna, especially combined in copious amounts with all-black clothing and some Joy Division or Bauhaus playing in the headphones. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Hello! I’m Christiane Knight. I was born in Baltimore MD and have escaped twice, but keep getting drawn back to my quirky hometown. I’ve had a dizzying array of interesting jobs over the years, but these days I am a fiber artist as well as a writer. For fun, I run an online radio station that features goth/industrial/alternative music, and I sing in a couple of musical projects.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I learned to print letters. Before I could write them down, I would gather up girls at the playground to sit in a circle and listen to the tales I would dream up – usually about fairies and talking animals.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In high school, I joined a club that put out a yearly literary publication, and that was the first time I ever saw my words in print. At that point, I knew that writing was something that I was meant to do. After that, I spent some time writing for very small press publications, including my own, but I never thought I’d manage to put out a novel – until I did!

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

I released In Sleep You Know in 2021. It focuses on Merrick Moore, a guy with some great friends and a garage band, but no drive to go anywhere in life. That is, until he crashes a party and ends up with more than he bargained for: new powers, a girlfriend who can visit him in his dreams, and a seven year bond with the Eleriannan Fae court.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been carrying around this series of stories about the Eleriannan, set in Baltimore City, for years and years. When the pandemic hit, and I had nothing but time on my hands, I decided what better to do than to finally start crafting them into proper novels?

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is very character driven, filled with traditional lore that I’ve filtered through my imagination. I’ve been told that my books read like watching a movie, with lots of intense visuals and action that puts you in the middle of the story. My goal is to write fantasy in a way that the story feels almost plausible, and the characters seem like the kind of people you wish you’d meet and convince to be your friends.

I also weave music throughout my writing in ways that add depth to the story, including using a soundtrack that hints at the action occurring in each chapter.

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

“In Sleep You Know” is a reference to the gift that Merrick’s Fae girlfriend Aisling gives him, dreams that reveal the future. It also refers to something that Aisling tells Merrick – that in dreams, one cannot lie. Dreams and dreaming are very important to this story.

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

This is a story about discovering the magic inside oneself, realizing the importance of the family you choose, and standing up for the things that matter – even when you are hopelessly outclassed.

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

Some of the locations in the book are directly inspired by actual locales in Baltimore, Club Marcada in particular. Every scene written there, including the scene where Merrick’s band plays onstage, is inspired by real life events in some way or another. I was able to draw extensively from my experiences as a performer and club manager. Some of Vali’s life and experiences are also drawn from and inspired by my own, especially the experience of having the weirdos of the area regularly hang out at the cafe where she works!

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

As a voracious reader my entire life, too many to list fairly, but as a writer, I would have to mention Charles deLint for his perfect blend of magic and hope and characters you feel like you know like friends. Patricia A. McKillip inspired my writing voice to some degree, and made me pay attention to how she writes her descriptions in a way that feels opulent without being overdone. Jane Yolen, Ursula Le Guin, Tolkien, Elizabeth Hand, Connie Willis.

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

All of those writers have helped me on the way to becoming the writer that I am now. If there was one on the list I would have loved to be able to learn extensively from, it would have been Ursula Le Guin. Her mastery of the craft was matched by her cleverness and insightfulness.

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

My cover was designed by Leesa Ellis of http://3fernsbookdesign.com/, with some photo manipulation done by Mohammed Hossain Poulash. Leesa is my book mentor as well as the person who did all the exterior and interior design for the book, and I recommend her highly.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Outlines and notes are your friends. Write every day if you can, even if it isn’t on your current project. Go to literary conventions and events, attend the panels, and meet other people in the field. It will do wonders for your confidence as a writer!

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

Keep that sense of whimsy and wonder. Look for the unexpected moments of magic.


Christiane Knight
Baltimore, Maryland

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM

In Sleep You Know

Cover Artist: 3 Ferns Book Design
Publisher: Three Ravens Press

AMAZON
B&N
BOOKSHOP
SIGNED PAPERBACK

Author Interview: PJ Manney

When I asked PJ Manney to describe herself as a writer, she said, “I’m a human sponge, and culture and SF geek. Everything is connected and I’ll show you the network.” Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

PJ Manney wrote the bestselling and P.K. Dick Award nominated novel, (R)EVOLUTION (2015, 47North) in the Phoenix Horizon trilogy with, (ID)ENTITY (2017), and (CON)SCIENCE, (2021). A former chairperson of Humanity+, she authored “Yucky Gets Yummy: How Speculative Fiction Creates Society“​ and “Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy,”​ foundational works on the neuropsychology of empathy and future media. Manney consults and lectures for organizations about the future of technology and humanity. She was a teleplay writer (Hercules–The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, numerous TV pilot scripts) and film executive. Manney has two children, lives with her husband in Southern California and is a dual citizen of the US and New Zealand.

When and why did you begin writing?

My husband and I went to New Zealand in 1993, so he could produce five TV movies based on Hercules. I had just left running one production company and was negotiating to run another. But I didn’t want to be away from my husband for 9 months, so I put the job search on hold and joined him in Auckland. I was so bored doing nothing, I thought I’d write a spec feature length script to pass the days. For thirty years, I had believed the lies told by my teachers who mistrusted my dyslexia, and my producers who believed that production executives didn’t have what it took to be writers. My spec was good enough for me to pitch the executive producer in charge of the new episodic TV series in the works, Hercules—The Legendary Journeys, then Xena: Warrior Princess. We were in New Zealand for seven years and had two children there.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a screenwriter after my first sale to Hercules—The Legendary Journeys. I considered myself a novelist after selling (R)EVOLUTION. I considered myself a short story writer after selling “Ours” to the ghost story anthology, December Tales. Even though writing is what makes one a writer, I like a pro sale to feel like I’ve earned the moniker. But that’s just me.

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

(CON)SCIENCE is the third book in the Phoenix Horizon trilogy. Five years ago, bioengineer Peter Bernhardt spearheaded an innovation in nanotechnology that changed the course of evolution. Until everything was taken from him—his research, the people he loved, and finally his life. Uploaded as an artificial intelligence, Peter is alive again thanks to a critical reactivation by fellow AI Carter Potsdam.

But a third sentient computer program, Major Tom, is tearing the United States apart, destroying its leaders and its cities. Major Tom’s mission: rebuild a new America from the ruins and reign as uncontested monarch. Carter knows that only a revolutionary like Peter can reverse the damage to a country set on fire.

Caught in a virtual world between an alleged ally and an enemy, pieces of Peter’s former self remain: the need for vengeance, empathy for the subjugated people of a derelict world, and doubt in everything he’s been led to believe. To rescue what’s left, he’ll need to once again advance the notion of evolution and to expand the meaning of being human—by saving humanity.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love American history, having been an American Studies major in college. I love futurism, where I watch trends in society and culture and figure out the possible futures that may occur. And I love neuroscience. I taught myself neuroscience to imagine the possible brain-computer interface technologies (BCIs) in the novels. They must be good enough, because at least one major BCI company has replicated them. Imagining how a person would change with an implanted BCI, then change again as a digital personality is the best fun ever.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think my style changes with the story told and the point of view. In the Phoenix Horizon trilogy, it’s close third person in the mind of a scientist, but as the protagonist shifts personality, the writing does, too. “Ours” is a story told by three ghost children as a collective entity. But I have techniques that are consistent story to story, including how I brainstorm, structure and write all over the place, in layers. I call it sedimentary writing, as I lay down the different layer details at different times.

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

My first editor at 47North, Jason Kirk, came up with (R)EVOLUTION. I took the format of parentheses as a starting point, and added one letter more to inside the parenthesis to indicate the number of the book in the series: (R), (ID), (CON). Then I had fun coming up with words that were thematically correct and could exist on their own inside, outside, and separate of the parentheses. Each title has several meanings or thematic references. I think it worked.

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

Change happens. Technology advances. We can’t stop it, nor should we. Technology is morally neutral. What matters are the choices we, as a society, make for its use. And we have a voice in those decisions if we chose to say it.

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

The series protagonist cognates, memorizes and problem-solves through music. My daughter does this. I find her brain so interesting, I created a hero/anti-hero based on it. And several characters are based on or are composites of people I know. I’ve made a lot of parents happy by making their adult children fictional doctors, lawyers and Wolfesque ‘masters of the universe.’

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

Alexander Dumas inspired all three books with The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask respectively. Dumas was a magnificent storyteller, and especially in The Count of Monte Cristo, the political technothriller writer of his time, as the Count uses early 19th Century technologies to foil his enemies.

Mary Shelley is my compass, always pointing the way. From Frankenstein, depicting the OG scientifically-created human, to The Last Man, with its deep contemplation of what makes human beings necessary, she asked the hardest questions as the first science fiction author. We still ask the same questions today.

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

Two writers mentored and helped me over the last several years. Joe Quirk picked me up and dusted me off when I had given up on an early draft of (R)EVOLUTION that was a disaster. He focused on solutions and gave me the best notes a writer could ask for, because they worked. I learned so much from him as a first-time novelist. Cat Rambo came into my life when I needed her most. I had writers block and took Eileen Gunn’s excellent writer’s block class at Clarion West online. At the end, she said we should join Cat Rambo’s daily co-writing group and continue with classes at The Rambo Academy. I did both. They allowed me to finish (CON)SCIENCE and take it to publication, as well as teach me how to write short stories, leading to “Ours.” I’m a lucky writer to have such mentors and friends.

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

I told 47North that I wanted covers that were the 21st Century version of the surreal, psychedelic SFF covers I loved as a child in the 1970s. Jason Kirk and I searched the web for a great artist and found Adam Martinakis. We adore him and his three-dimensional, CGI surrealist style. They speak to the drama and individual conflicts of each book. (R)EVOLUTION depicts the painful emergence of a new kind of human. (ID)ENTITY refers to the fracturing of identity in artificial human intelligences and the different bodies they inhabit. (CON)SCIENCE references how many iterations of a single mind can occur when digital entities exist. The images were perfect.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Don’t give up. I imagined the seed of an idea in 1993 that became (R)EVOLUTION, published in 2015. During that time, I wrote for television, ghostwrote for movies, published my first academic journal article, consulted as a futurist, helped run a PTA, reorganized and accelerated STEM classes in our schools, raised two children, cared for six parents, and had my own health crises. I have dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia, as well as late-discovered ADHD. In theory, I should be the last person writing anything. But it turns out that dyslexics are unusually good storytellers, but we’re only learning that now. Against conventional wisdom, I do the thing I was told never to do. You can, too.

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

Don’t be afraid of the future. We are all more resilient and powerful than we think. We can make a better world together, if we want one.


PJ Manney
Orange County, CA

FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
TWITTER
LINKEDIN


(CON)SCIENCE


Cover Artist: Adam Martinakis
Publisher: 47North at Amazon Publishing

AMAZON
B&N
APPLE
AUDIBLE
BOOKSAMILLION

Author Interview: a stump

Authors come from all walks of life and a stump is no exception. While this author may claim to be a mere hobbist, I think he has much more going for him than he might realize, for a stump is a literary author with over thirty short stories published in over fifteen publications. Read on and see if you agree with me. Please welcome a stump to No Wasted Ink.

Hi Wendy! When I think about who I am, I’d like to begin be saying that I’m a man—a pastor, even!—married to a beautiful, supportive wife with four amazing sons. I don’t think of myself as an author, but certainly enjoy the hobby of writing. I love being outdoors, and I love drinking coffee. I’m a slow, but avid, reader. I read about 150 words per minute, which makes me an “auditory reader.” So, being such a slow reader, I have to be very judicious in my reading list.

When and why did you begin writing?

My best friend, N.D. Coley, is a writer. I saw what he was doing and how his stories were getting published, and I thought, “I’d like to try doing that.” I did, and it worked!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

From the get-go, I knew that I was a writer. I had had a lot of English and writing classes in college, so I knew the mechanics of writing. I understand vocabulary and writing quite well, so I know what works. I also have a working knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, and German, and I’m working on Old Norse, Old English, and Anglo-Saxon. That being said, I don’t view myself as an “author.” It’s not the main thing I do, only a hobby. I’m happy, however, that people seem to enjoy my writing.

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

I have one book, The Endless Summer, that I’m advertising now. It’s the right time for it, as kids are getting out of school and teachers are assigning reading lists and such. It’s a bit of a fantastical romp through my own childhood in the 1980’s in upstate New York. Of course, it’s not just nostalgia, but infused with the supernatural. I have a mermaid, a genie, and a vampire in my story, all interacting with a group of ten year-old boys. I think that that’s when the magic happens—between childhood and puberty. There’s a liminal phase there where childhood belief mixes with some sort of adult notion that the world is a really gritty, complex place.

What inspired you to write this book?

It began as a short story called The Storm Drain. It was eventually changed to Keep Off the Grass and published in the online magazine, Jakob’s Horror Box. When I had finished that story, I felt the characters begging me to tell more. I did. I wrote several short stories, and they all became a single piece that turned into The Endless Summer.

Do you have a specific writing style?

If I had to pick a single style, I’d say “Literary.” I really want to write stuff that everyone wants to read. As such, I use a lot of descriptive and grammar structure to make my writing broadly appealing. My Book, The Endless Summer is written for a young adult audience, but will also be appealing to adults. In fact, one reviewer stated that she read the book twice in a row for the beauty of the writing.

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

One of the stories/chapters in this book is called “The Endless Summer.” It’s one of the few stories in the book that hasn’t been published previously. After writing it, I thought that it encapsulates the idea of a childhood summer—never ending. The story takes place over one whole summer, and it seemed a fitting title.

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

Yes! Some people might think that the message is something like “there’s magic everywhere” or “childhood is magical.” In reality, I think that the truth of the book is that “things aren’t always as they seem.” Being disillusioned is one of the hallmarks of the journey from childhood to adulthood. The jading that happens somewhere in adolescence is quite unfortunate. My book captures the twilight magic that happens somewhere between those two bookends.

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

Every story is somehow autobiographical. All the characters are some part of me. It takes place in upstate New York, which is where I spent several years of my childhood. It was formative for me, and a natural backdrop for my stories.

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

Without a doubt, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Ursula K. le Guinn.

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

I write my own prose and poetry. While I’m influenced by a lot a authors’ styles, I try not to mimic them.

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

I did it. Because I’m broke! I’d love for someone else to design covers for me, but I’m broke and can’t afford graphic design. A designer actually volunteered to design a cover for me, but none of the proposed designs really fit the book. I think that any designer needs to read my writing before submitting a design. My writing is often dark and brooding. Even with a title like The Endless Summer, it’s not a flowery book.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Write what you love. Who cares if it’s published? Also, when you’re ready to publish, it’s ok to give some stuff away, but don’t give everything away. Giving writing away cheapens our craft.

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

Please, please, please leave a review for the work that you’d read! Even one sentence! Obviously, five-star reviews are preferable. But even one word reviews (like “Awesome!”) make a difference for authors. I’ve sold a lot of copies of my titles, but have relatively few reviews. Granted, they’re all five star reviews, but it would be really nice if the amount of reviews were reflective of sales!


a stump
Greenville, PA

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM

The Endless Summer

Purchase at
www.astump.com

Author Interview: Geoff Habiger

Part of the writing duo, Habiger & Kissee, Author Geoff Habiger says he writers to tell the stories that he wants to read and hopefully a few other people will also like them. He is also a fellow knight of the Scifi Roundtable. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hello, I am Geoff Habiger, one half of the dynamic writing duo Habiger & Kissee. I grew up in the wild hinterland of the Flint Hills of Kansas. I would awaken in the morning to the sounds of peacocks and roaring lions (no, really – we lived below the city zoo) and I would trudge to school, walking up hill both ways. (Again true, since we lived at the bottom of a hill, and the school was also at the bottom of a hill. Welcome to the Flint Hills.) I attended Kansas State University and got a B.S. degree in geology, which really helped me work varied careers in fast food, retail, pharmaceuticals, and publishing. I have lived in New Mexico since 2005 with my wife and son.

When and why did you begin writing?

I actually started writing stories a long time ago when I was in high school. I had so many creative ideas that I wanted to share them with others. I wrote some short stories, and a novel about a mission to Mars, but none of that was ever published and I doubt it even survives to this day. I started writing in earnest about twenty years ago, writing more short stories and another scifi novel, again, none of which were published. Around 2010 Coy and I got the idea for the Unremarkable series and we started writing it, and the ideas for it, and our fantasy series just started flowing. My goal is still the same as when I was a teenager, to tell creative stories and just share them with others.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I first considered myself a writer when I started writing that long-lost scifi novel. I figured if I was writing a story, then I was a writer, even if I didn’t publish it. I “officially” became a writer when I sold my first piece (a short RPG adventure for D&D) back around 2003 or 2004.

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

Unavoidable is the final book in our Saul Imbierowicz vampire trilogy. In the previous books (Unremarkable and Untouchable) Saul has gone from the eponymous unremarkable everyman who is suddenly thrust into the world of gangsters and then learns that vampires are real. In book two Saul tries to take down Chicago’s biggest gangster (and vampire), Al Capone, tracking him to Atlantic City and a climactic battle.

Unavoidable picks up about a year later when Al Capone is released from jail, but that is the least of Saul’s worries. Eliot Ness has deemed the notorious gangster off limits, while Director J. Edgar Hoover has taken note of Saul and Christian’s activities and has his own plans for the two agents. Meanwhile, a mysterious vampire master finally reveals herself, putting Saul’s family in more danger than they’ve ever been before. Saul’s life is changing again, and not for the better. The choices that Saul must make in order to save his family, stop Capone, and deal with an old threat, might come at a price too high for Saul to pay.

What inspired you to write this book?

Unavoidable is the third book in the trilogy, so the actual inspiration started with why we wrote book one, Unremarkable. The concept for Unremarkable was born from a conversation that we had as we drove back from a trip to Chicago on how the supernatural could have played a part in actual historical events. We latched on to the St. Valentine’s Day massacre as something that could be explained as part of a vampire turf war, and that led to the inevitable discussion around how powerful Al Capone really was, and why it was so hard to take him down. The pieces all just fit together really well, so we ran with it. We always planned to write this first part of Saul’s story as a trilogy and Unavoidable now concludes this particular chapter in Saul’s new life.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t think I have a particular writing style. I just think up the story and the characters and then try to tell something that will entertain the reader. I like to plot things out ahead of time, but also my characters will often change up the plot when the situation needs it.
As to writing with Coy, we work on the plots for our stories together. I then write the first (very rough) draft of the story and hand it over to Coy. He cleans up all the bad grammar, spelling errors, and corrects all of the dialogue to make it sound better and be true to the characters. We then work together on edits to the story before sending it to other editors and beta readers.

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

The title for this book came during the previously mentioned trip to Chicago when we first came up with the story. We knew we wanted the first book to be about Saul, so the natural title was Unremarkable. The follow-up book, Untouchable, was the logical sequel to it playing on the team that Eliot Ness created to stop Capone, the Untouchables. Finally, the events that played out in the trilogy came to the Unavoidable conclusion for Saul. The titles all flowed together and help tell the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That even if you think you lead the most boring life (like Saul) that extraordinary things may happen to you. And, when that happens, it is important that you stay true to yourself. Don’t try to become something you are not, even if you physically change (or become a vampire).

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

Nope. We invented everything for the characters pretty much whole cloth. We did read biographies about Al Capone and Eliot Ness to get a feel for those characters, but everybody else we created for the books without basing them on anybody in particular.

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

There were a couple of authors whose works I read growing up that really inspired me, both in how to live my life but also to instill in me a desire to tell my own tales. James Harriot, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and CS Lewis were all inspirational to me to be able to tell wonderful stories. I acquired my love of reading from them, as well as kindling my desire to tell my own stories.

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

Even though I have never met them, I consider Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston to be mentors. Not only do they write exciting thrillers that I want to emulate in my own stories, the fact that they write together gives me insight into how Coy and I can write together. Now, among writers I have met, and learned a few things from, is Eric M. Craig. If you don’t know the name, Eric is a self-published sci-fi author and I routinely bounce ideas off of him, but mostly what I learn from him is in the area of marketing. That’s often an overlooked skill for a writer, and I am happy to have found somebody who does it well and is willing to share what he has learned with me.

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

For the first two books in the Saul trilogy (Unremarkable and Untouchable) we used old photographs that we then added a touch of red (blood) to the image. When it came to Unavoidable. we couldn’t find an image that we liked that we could get the rights to use, so I reached out to the extremely talented Ian Bristow of Bristow Designs. We “met” Ian through the Scifi Roundtable group on Facebook and I immediately loved his work. Ian had already done some other covers for me and we knew that he would be able to deliver the right feel to the cover that we wanted. And he did. We love the cover for Unavoidable.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Two bits of advice: One, don’t quit your day job until you have that six-figure deal and check in hand (and even then, don’t burn your bridges when you go to write full-time). Two, don’t listen to “writer’s advice”. I have seen a lot of “advice” out there, especially on social media that is actually masking as gatekeeping. There are very few hard and fast rules for writing (basically, spelling and grammar) and even those can be bent (or broken) when the situation and story calls for it. Everything else is just opinion, so do what you want. Write how often you want, in whatever style that works for you. If you can tell a wonderful story with compelling characters, then bravo! you are a writer and now you can give “advice” to others.

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

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in our stories and supporting us by buying our books, leaving us reviews, and hanging out with us at cons and book events. Knowing that people look forward to our next story is very humbling and gives us fuel to keep writing. Also, there will be more stories coming involving Saul, Christian, Sarah, Joe, and the other characters from the first trilogy. We have more tales that we want to tell, including a couple of stand-alone stories and at least two more trilogies that we want to write involving Saul.


Geoff Habiger & Coy Kissee
Geoff lives in Tijeras, NM and Coy lives in Lenexa, KS.

FACEBOOK
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
GOODREADS
TWITTER
BOOKBUB

Unavoidable

AMAZON
B&N
KOBO
BOOKSHOP.ORG