Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview: Karin De Havin

Karin De Havin writes Young Adult fantasies as well as Paranormal stories from her timber frame lodge home in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with a pair of tuxedo cats that help her write by jumping on keyboards, and her pianist husband who wears a tuxedo while he tinkers with the keyboard too. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Karin De Havin and I am an author, designer, and artist. I split my time between designing and putting pen to paper or rather fingers to the keyboard. I’ve always been creative and have expanded my mediums from paint, to fabric, to words.

When and why did you begin writing?

I had been working in the grueling fashion industry as a designer and needed a break. I took a creative writing course in college and have always enjoyed writing short stories but never had a chance to follow through on my passion for writing. So after over a decade in the fashion business working for several companies, I decided to go freelance so I could finally have the spare time to begin my first novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I sold several short stories and a few magazine articles. I thought if people are willing to pay for my stories then maybe I’m a writer after all.

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

I’m almost done with the final book in my heaven fantasy series, The Katran Legacy. I will be sad to say good-bye to my characters after spending several years together, but I’m enjoying giving them the ending they deserve.

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s a bit of a strange inspiration story. I was at a funeral of a friend of my husbands. It was very sad, as he was only thirty-five years old when he died from cancer and had so much life to live. But I was amazed at how his friends weren’t upset and were able to celebrate his life. They took turns telling stories about all the crazy adventures he had in his life as an extreme sports enthusiast. His friends said in his last days he was at peace with dying. He’d lived a full life and had no regrets. There were several high school age kids at the funeral and I thought what if one of them died? The conversations would be totally different because they haven’t had a chance to live their life yet. Then I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful when they arrived in heaven they were given an opportunity to earn a second chance at life? That’s what started the idea for Nine Lives, the first book in the series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I’m a very character driven writer. I come up with story ideas all the time, but before I can flesh them out, I need to visualize the key characters first. I have to hear their voices and see their faces before I can put the story to the page.

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

The story in the fourth book is about discovering a new path for the characters now that they have won back their lives. They will never be the same after what they experienced in heaven. Some of them reconsider going to college while others are certain they want to strike out on their own. I also picked the title because Heavenly Discovery worked well with the previous book, Heavenly Returns.

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

Yes. Just when you think all hope is lost you have the power to turn things around. But things are never easy, so you need to hard work, have a little luck, and the help and support of good friends.

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

I think all writers base their books on experiences even though they may be writing fantasy fiction. I’ve never died and gone to heaven, but I’ve been given second chances in my life and I learned not to waste them.

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

I love all types of authors so I have a broad base of influences. Authors I admire are Jane Austen, Kurt Vonnegut, Tolkien, J.K. Rawlings, and George R R Martin. What drew me to their writing were their amazing characters and their world-building abilities. You might be thinking Jane Austen had world-building abilities? Yes, she did. She was a master of capturing the life she experienced in the Regency era. Her descriptions are so vivid readers for decades have traveled back in time through her books. My love of her books inspired my Victorian genie time travel series, Jin In Time.

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

I actually am lucky enough to have two writers I admire as mentors. My first mentor and I were represented by the same literary agency. Our agent matched up as critique partners. After being traditional published my mentor left the agency and went indie. She was quite successful so I followed her two years later. I had only been traditionally published so she’s been a lifesaver learning the ins and outs of the indie publishing world. The second is a new mentor who is a New York Times bestseller who is helping me grow my writing even more. I’m so excited to be working with her.

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

Kellie at Book Cover by Design did the cover. She has done many of my mentor’s covers and which are truly amazing. It was a no-brainer to use her too. As an artist, I can appreciate all the hard work Kellie puts into her covers and her wonderful sense of color and composition.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You need to study the craft and be passionate about your stories. Telling a good story is an art. It’s a very tough business. I’ve found it to be even harder to learn than the fashion business, which is notoriously difficult. You need to believe in yourself and never give up.

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

Thank you so much for reading my stories and believing in my characters. I really appreciate your enthusiasm for my series and your willingness to jump right into the crazy worlds I create. You’re the best!

Karin De Havin
Pacific Northwest

FACEBOOK
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
INSTAGRAM
PINTEREST

Heavenly Discovery

Book Cover By Design

AMAZON
KOBO
B&N
iTUNES
GOOGLE PLAY

Author Interview: Richard Fierce

Richard Fierce is a fantasy author best known for his novella The Last Page. He’s also one of the creative brains behind the Allatoona Book Festival, a literary event in Acworth, Georgia. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Richard FierceMy name is Richard Fierce and I write fantasy. My day job is in the tech industry, but my passion is writing. I hope to be a full-time writer by the end of 2018! I have 4 dogs (three huskies), three cats, two birds and a dwarf hamster. My wife and three step-daughters are animal fanatics and “No” apparently means “Yes” in my house. My daily commute is 4 hours round trip. The office I work at is 82 miles from my house, and I drive through Atlanta traffic. People in Georgia drive like they aren’t afraid to die if that tells you anything.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing since I was in elementary school, but I really got serious about it in 2007/2008. I self-published a novella that had been collecting dust and began my publishing career. I began writing because I love telling stories. The creative side of my brain is constantly coming up with ideas, so I always joke that I have more unfinished story ideas than I do friends.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always considered myself a writer, even before I was published, but I didn’t consider myself an “author” until my first book went out into the world. I think a lot of writers have that backward, though. They don’t think they are writers until they have something published. I disagree with that view. Regardless of whether or not you are published, if you write, you are a writer.

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

My book is titled Dragonsphere. It’s the first in a completed four book series and sets the stage for the events that happen across two kingdoms. These kingdoms have been at war for as long that no one really remembers why they’re even still fighting. When a dragon starts ravaging cities of both kingdoms, they have to put their differences aside to stop it. The top of each chapter has a quote from someone, either a historical figure in that world or a current character, and gives insight into the history of the world that isn’t in the main narrative.

The Kingdom of Talvaard had a great persecution break out against wizards, and so they do not have wizards to help them against their enemies. The Kingdom of Oakvalor has wizards but no weapon smiths because Talvaard has assassinated all of them. Both kingdoms have an advantage over the other, and this is what forces them into a truce, however temporary, to stop the dragon.

What inspired you to write this book?

The idea for Dragonsphere came to me as I was helping my wife in the nursery of a church. She was watching the younger kids and one of them was playing with a toy ball that had buttons all over it. When you pushed the buttons, it played music. I thought to myself, “What if there was something inside that ball, and if the music didn’t get played so often, it would escape?” That idea slowly turned into this book.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m always working on my craft, but I can’t think of any “style” that I have aside from being a “narrative” writer. I aim to entertain readers, but not with the beauty of language or anything. I use descriptive language so that readers can envision or imagine the scenery and characters.

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

The title came about as a play on words. It’s Dragonsphere, which is an item in the story, but the play on words is dragon(s) fear. Classic fantasy always shows people being overcome with an intense fear when dragons show up, and I thought it was rather fitting to play into the classic trope.

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

When I write, I try to weave things that people can relate to into the story. One of the main characters in the book is a monk, and he struggles with faith. I think that’s something many people can relate to. I know I do. The character poses questions, both philosophical and honest, and learns about different beliefs as the story progresses. While not direct events, I have experienced this in my own life.

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

Good questions! My idols are R.A. Salvatore and Margaret Weis. I find Margaret’s storytelling to be so in depth and well thought out. Salvatore is a master of storytelling as well, and I love how he keeps you engaged with the characters and shows you their inner thoughts.

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

Yes, actually. Pdmac is a sci-fi writer I met at a convention a few years ago. He lives in the same area as I do and we talk at least once a week. We share each other’s WIPs with one another for feedback. He’s a mentor in that he makes me think of things I hadn’t considered before and poses questions that make me re-think why I’m writing a scene a certain way or points out passive voice. He’s a mentor and an editor, I suppose.

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

Saeed Ramez did the art. I chose him because his style fits what I was looking for (and he let me use the art for free!) Sapphire Designs did the formatting and typography. I posted my original cover in the 20Coversto50K Facebook group and she had some pointers on how to make it better. I’m not a designer, so when she offered to fix it up for me, I was more than welcome for the help. She charged me a very fair amount, too.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Even the most prolific writers suffer from self-doubt. I find the way to fight through that doubt is to keep writing and working on my craft. Don’t let your work die in the hands of the critics. As I see the sales starting to increase, it adds to the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile. My worst critic is self, but I always remind myself that no one lies to me more than I lie to myself.

Richard Fierce Dragonsphere EbookRichard Fierce
Rockmart, Georgia

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Dragonsphere

Cover Artist: Saeed Ramez

AMAZON

Author Interview: Maya Starling

Author Maya Starling has many writing credits in addition to her fantasy novels.  Her short stories have been featured in anthologies and on fandom websites. In 2017, she had the honor of being the Guest Editor-in-Chief for the English installment of a Croatian SF&F Fanzine called Parsek, a Worldcon edition. She was greatly received at Worldcon and was proud to promote local Croatian authors and artists.  Please give her a warm welcome to No Wasted Ink.

Author Maya StarlingI’m Maya Starling, a fantasy author from a little country called Croatia. I like to introduce myself as a writer, geek, animal lover and a gamer. I’m a Browncoat, a Trekkie, and I like Star Wars. I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, Buffy all the way, loving Avengers, #TeamCaptain. I think that LOTR are the best Christmas movies. I have two rescue cats. As for the gamer part, I’ve lived the life of an oracle, a paladin, a bard, a rebel, a mortician… all while rolling the dice, sitting around the table with some of my closest friends.

Of course, I love reading, preferably fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance. So hard to choose a favorite book but there are a few that have left a long-lasting impression. And let’s not forget graphic novels, and one of my favorites is Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore.

Last, but not least, I’m a mom to a very wonderful little boy.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started about eight years ago and writing pulled me out of depression and gave me a purpose what life kept bringing me down.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It took me some time to consider myself a writer. At first, I kept writing and saying that I was an aspiring writer, but then a friend said… you don’t aspire, you already write. You are a writer already.

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

I’m currently working on two books. Started the third in my Dragons Awaken series and finishing up a dark fantasy, a stand-alone novel called Vengeance Upturned.

What inspired you to write this book?

An illustration, then the description of the illustration, and then the character and the world were born, encouraging me to write their story.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think I have a very specific writing style because I’m still growing as a writer. I live vivid imagery without being too wordy. I like casual, down to earth characters, and I especially love making my characters grow. So, most of my stories are character driven.

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

I really don’t remember. It just came to me. (feel free to skip this answer)

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

I think that Vengeance Upturned has a deep message about overcoming grief, about how different people deal differently with a loss. It’s about hitting rock bottom (mentally and emotionally) and then finding your way back to the light. And that it’s okay to ask and accept help.

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

L.M. Bujold, Carrie Vaughn, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Roger Zelazny… All of them are inspiring because they finished a book and got published, and they continued writing something I enjoy reading. But I found L.M. Bujold’s Sharing Knife Trilogy to be defining books when it comes to my writing, the ones that inspired me to write my own story. Simple, effective prose, loveable down-to-earth characters, simple yet complex plot. You just have to read it.

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

Not one, but many, especially my fellow authors by providing feedback on my books and stories. That’s how I learned and grew the most in my writing.

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

The two books I’m working on don’t have covers yet. But, for my first two, I did the cover design, and for the second of those two, I worked with a local illustrator for the custom artwork, because he is an undiscovered gem and I wanted to promote local talent; Borna Nikola Zezelj.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Persevere. Write. Read. Learn. Write some more. Read even more. Don’t give up. Don’t let the self-doubt win. Ask for feedback. Don’t take it personally, and grow from it.

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

I’m just happy that you enjoy my characters, my stories, and my worlds. What more could I ask for? I hope I continue creating that magic, and that you keep on reading. And please, feel free to reach out and contact me. Love you all!

Dragons Treasure Book CoverMaya Starling
Zagreb, Croatia (Europe)

FACEBOOK
TWITTER

Dragon’s Treasure

Cover Artist: Borna Nikola Zezelj 

AMAZON

Author Interview: CJ McKee

Author CJ McKee has been writing short stories and doing other forms of art and music since he was young. “Creativity is utmost in my endeavors.” Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author CJ McKeeGreetings! I’m C.J. McKee and I’ve been writing or doing some sort of creative thing for many years. Music, art, you name it which includes making costumes and going to fantasy/sci-fi conventions! I love to dabble in new things!

When and why did you begin writing?

I first got the writing bug way back in grade and high school. However, I didn’t pick it up again, and more seriously until much later. I always loved dragons since as far back as I can remember. In literature, I felt they were never written as anything other than a pest or dangerous being. I wrote my own version, a short story starting in the late 90’s and continued to build on the “realms” until it became a published novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The moment I sat down to write novels. I wrote short stories before that but hadn’t seriously considered publishing. Once I set my mind to it and had them edited and published I knew.

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

Blood and Bane: The Dragon Sage Chronicles is about the Realms ruled by Dragons. All who reside on the land are under the Sovereign Dragons’ rule and must not defile the Land nor harm the balance of the Realms of Arydd. If they do, they suffer the wrath of the Dragons. The Dragon Sage. a wizard of sorts is the liaison between those in the realms and the Sovereigns. He must train others in the art of magic in order to help watch over the humans. For there are those who wish to defile the land for their own selfish needs.

What inspired you to write this book?

Dragons typically are seen or written as being hoarders, dangerous, deadly and a general nuisance. I wanted to portray them in a more positive light. I have loved dragons all my life and wanted to put a positive spin on them. Additionally, how many dragons do you know who are rulers over humans and other life forms?

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’d like to think I have my own, third person with some inner dialogue of the characters. I’ve been told my writing reminds them of Christopher Paolini (Eragon).

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

The story revolves around family ties and dark magicks. Those who’re bad guys (evil wizards) are called banes. The Dragon Sage Chronicles refers to the main character, Galddor who is a liaison between the Realms and the Sovereign Dragons.

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

Don’t take the world around you for granted.

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

No, however, the amber eyes of the dragons is in honor to my dog who passed away in 2001.

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

Ray Bradbury. His writing is one of my favorite styles to read. His descriptions are beyond compare and his ideas are incredible. JRR Tolkien for the fantasy aspect, of course. He created the world that forever changed fantasy novels for years to come.

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

Ray Bradbury. I felt he was my boyhood hero because of his ability to write a science fiction world that spoke to me. Also, I met him and saw one of his lectures many years ago. A bright, enthusiastic man who saw the world through the eyes of wonder and potential.

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

I did. I dabble in many styles of art and had this idea for the cover that I thought conveyed the amber eyes of the dragons as well as their ever watching gaze on the land.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read, learn and absolutely get an editor for your writing if you intend to publish. It is well worth it!!!

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

I hope you enjoy the world I have created. May you watch the second moon rise with someone you love…

dragonsagecoverpart4-199x300C.J. McKee
Whitefish, Montana

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS
YOUTUBE

Blood and Bane: The Dragon Sage Chronicles

AMAZON
B&N
SMASHWORDS

Author Interview: Gareth Wood

Author Gareth Wood writes Science Fiction and Horror, and one day hopes to combine the two. “I have ideas all the time, and write them down so that I can re-examine them later. Hopefully one or two will become books.” We hope so too, Gareth. Welcome to No Wasted Ink.

Author Gareth WoodHi, I’m Gareth Wood. I’m a commercial electrician who works in the film and television industry. I was born in England but I live in Vancouver BC. I’m nearly fifty, I live with my wife and a pair of cats who remain convinced that we are purely there to serve them.

When and why did you begin writing?

My first short story that was anything other than a jumble of ideas was written when I was about ten years old. It was a class assignment in school, to write an original short story, and I loved it so much that I never stopped. What I wrote then was a short SF piece. My love of SF started with books I found in my school library, and an SF themed children’s magazine that my mother subscribed to.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That would be 2004. I had written on and off for many years before that, but I first had something considered for publication then. That was when I gave serious thought to actually writing something with the idea of having it published. Before that, it had all just been for fun, my own amusement. Now with four books published, and a fifth and sixth coming, I think I can safely call myself a writer.

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

My latest published work is Black Horizon, the first of a trilogy. It is an SF tale about a clash of cultures, set 350 years after an apocalyptic war on Earth. Several astronauts return to Earth to find it drastically changed. I’m writing the follow-up book, The Serpent Sun, which introduces an advanced culture that spans a vast amount of territory, and also expands on the events taking place on and around Earth.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had recently re-read some books set on an post-apocalyptic Earth far in the future and was inspired by the idea that the world could change quite drastically in a short time. I had always wanted to return to SF, ever since that first short story so long ago. The title of the book and a scene associated with it came to me, and I went from there. Further inspiration came from some of the more realistic SF movies I’ve seen recently, as well as some old westerns. Black Horizon was once described by a reader as Zane Grey meets Heinlein.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Evolving. I feel I am getting better as a writer from book to book. It’s a skill like any other. Looking back I can see differences between what I wrote in my first book and my third and fourth, and now my fifth. I can say that a reader might be better able to describe my style than I could. Also, I try to write by hand for first drafts and then transfer my notes to the computer for the second. I find this works better for me since a lot of my time to write is when I’m away from my computer.

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

I had a scene in my mind, playing out like a movie. I could see the characters involved and the environment they were interacting with, and the name of the book sprang from that. That seems to be the way I get my titles. Likewise, the name of the next book, The Serpent Sun, is a visual descriptive of a specific scene in that book. I see the scenes much like films playing in my mind.

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

Not particularly. I write adventures, so maybe ‘enjoy the ride’ is the message?

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

Not at all. Before Black Horizon I wrote zombie apocalypse fiction, which I would not hope to be real in any way. For the books I write now, which are slightly hard SF, I’m making a lot of it up as I go, and it has no basis in my reality. Though if it did, that would be interesting. I think I’ve created a world of great hope and potential in Black Horizon, even if it is steeped in conflict

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

Andre Norton, whom I read early in life and still do. Anne McCaffery, who wrote some incredible science fantasy tales. Arthur C Clarke, whose hard SF books made me see the beauty of science. Iain M Banks, who was the kind of author I aspire to become. Stephen King, who scared me. Dan Simmons, for writing some of the most elegant prose about transhumanism. Craig DiLouie, for showing how to write a great action story. And of course Sterling Lanier, whose Hiero books inspired me from the very beginning.

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

Ah, that’s a hard one. If I could choose? Whom I most want to be like, and whose style I aspire to? Iain M Banks. The Culture books were awe-inspiring. His style and descriptive abilities were second-to-none. I think I would be quite happy to one day reach that level.

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

Loraine Van Tonder. My publisher selected her, and I’m glad they did. I wouldn’t have known where to start, and she did an excellent job with Black Horizon, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for The Serpent Sun.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write when and where you can. It’s tough these days juggling the writing impulse with working and living our regular lives. I manage to write by having notebooks that I carry around, or by using a writing app on my phone. It’s not always possible to write every day, but don’t worry about that. Write when you can, where you can, and as much as you feel able to. If that’s ten words or ten thousand, it’s correct.

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

Thank you for allowing me to entertain you.

Black Horizon Book CoverGareth Wood
Vancouver, BC, Canada

FACEBOOK
TWITTER

Black Horizon

Cover Artist: Loraine Van Tonder
Publisher: Burning Willow Press

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE