Category Archives: Author Interviews

Interviews of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors

Author Interview: Rae Knightly

Author Rae Knightly is a science-fiction adventure author for teenagers and the young-at-heart. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Rae Knightly and I live near Vancouver, on the West Coast of Canada, with my husband, two children and two grumpy cats. Before that, I lived in Mexico City, and before that, I lived in Belgium, and before that, I lived in Arizona, and before that… I think you get the idea. I love travelling and immersing myself in different cultures. In fact, I got a BA in translation (those who have read my books will get a chuckle out of this).

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been a writer at heart, but never had time to really do anything about it until 2018, when I lost my job. I already had a rough draft of Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall (The Alien Skill Series, Book 1), so this turned out to be the perfect time to polish it up and publish it. That’s when I decided to go full-time into writing, and I haven’t looked back since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

2018 was a pivotal year for me. For the first time in my life, I managed to concentrate on a single project and write it from beginning to end. I felt very proud of that achievement because I had never managed to write a full story before. I had to wait until my forties to have enough time, a certain insight into my strengths and weaknesses, and a lot of patience, before I could attempt to become a writer.

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

I published the first book in The Alien Skill Series in 2018 (second edition in 2020). This is a science-fiction adventure story for middle-graders and teens, which talks about a twelve-year-old boy, Ben Archer, who witnesses the crash of alien spacecraft in his grandfather’s field and is entrusted with an alien superpower. He goes on the run from government agents with the sole survivor of the crash: an alien man called Mesmo.

I believe that the friendship between Ben and Mesmo, as well as uncovering the reason why aliens came to Earth, have captivated readers of all ages and are the reasons for the series’ success. I have now won multiple awards and have achieved bestseller status on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall is the first book in the series. The sixth and last book, Ben Archer and the Toreq Son, published in March 2021.

I am now working on my next series, The Lost Space Treasure, which I plan on publishing in 2022.

What inspired you to write this book?

As mentioned above, I had plenty of story ideas but always struggled to focus on one of them. Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall was supposed to be my ‘practice novella’ – a short and simple story. I wasn’t even focusing too much on the story itself; all I wanted was to prove to myself that I could finish something short. But once I got into it, I became attached to the characters and the story kept growing. I guess you could say I grew with the story and was inspired to see how far I could go.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My mother tongue is French (I was born in Belgium), so I have a certain limit as to what/how I can write. Fortunately, I have enough English knowledge and vocabulary to tell a good story in an easily-accessible way.

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall is told from multiple points-of-view, which is quite unusual for middle-grade/teen books, but I believe it also the reason why readers of all ages have found a character to relate to.

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

I did a lot of research for the title, as well as the name of the main character. The original title was David Archer and the Chilliwack Fall, but then I discovered there already was a David Archer series and some smart readers pointed out that no-one would remember the name Chilliwack. I then changed the title to the Cosmic Fall to give it a science-fiction vibe.

The title of a book is important and is worth some thorough thought and research.

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

Under layers of adventure and excitement, there is indeed an important message in the series. Fortunately, readers have grasped that message and it reflects in their reviews: “A great environmental lesson for young adults.” “Contains environmental yet important themes about our need to protect our planet.” “An extremely timely message for today’s readers.”

In short, I hope to inspire young readers to take action to protect our environment.

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

The book is not based on experiences or people in my life. However, they are inspired by real events, short newspaper articles or videos I came across; such as water plumes jutting out of one of Saturn’s moons, imprisoned whales freed off the coast of Russia, images of the Northern Lights in a magazine, major fires in the rainforests of Brazil…

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

I was an avid reader when I was a teenager, and most of my own writing reflects that. Some of my favourite science-fiction and fantasy authors were Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising trilogy), Lois Duncan (A Stranger with my Face), Monica Hughes (Earthdark), Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy), Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist).

I loved their stories because they transported me into fantastical realms, away from reality. It was a thrilling feeling full of emotion and discovery. That is what I aim to do in my own writing.

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

Cristy Watson, my editor and author friend (Cutter Boy), has been a guiding light since the very beginning of my writing career. As a traditionally published author and teacher, she knew exactly how to gear the story towards my target readers. She has also brought a positive touch to my stories.

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

I ran a book cover contest on 99designs.com and received over eighty submissions! I picked five covers, then asked reader and writer Facebook groups to vote for their favourite one. The book cover designer Pintado came out a clear winner. This was an excellent marketing strategy for me because I knew I had a cover that was on target.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing, publishing and marketing your book can feel overwhelming at times. I suggest you don’t look at the mountain. Rather, focus on what you can get done today. It doesn’t have to be much, but you have to be constant. Also, forget about pleasing the crowds. What you have to do is find a group of target readers: those who will most enjoy your stories and rave about them.

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

Although my books are geared towards middle-graders and young adults, I welcome anyone to try them out. You can download a free novella by subscribing on my website: www.raeknightly.com .

This free novella is called The Great War of the Kins and is the point of origin of my two series: The Alien Skill and The Lost Space Treasure. I will also send you a monthly newsletter with news on upcoming releases, book cover reveals, ARC-reader opportunities, free books and more. Welcome to this fun and inclusive reading community!


Rae Knightly
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)

FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall

Cover Artist: Pintado

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

Author Interview: Bill McCormack

I asked Author Bill McCormack (aka Bill McScifi) how he would describe himself as a writer.  He said, “I tend to write dark stuff for adult audiences. It’s not something I do consciously, it just seems that somehow, somewhere, someone needs to be skinned alive with a titanium cheese slicer.”  Please welcome him here to No Wasted Ink.

Author Bill McCormickHi there, my name’s Bill McCormick and I’m a science fiction writer who lives in South Chicago with my fiancée. Before writing science fiction, I did occasional articles for music magazines and sports blogs. Overlapping that I worked as a touring musician and eased into management when it became clear I was going to live my life in bars if I kept playing bass in public. I went on to work with James Brown and many others.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written for fun and intermittent profit. But, in 2010, I’d lost my job, my wife, and most of my reasons to live. I decided to dust off some ideas I’d had and immerse myself in fantasy worlds for a while. It was a rude, but semi-effective, form of therapy. Oddly, some early beta readers of the stories I was writing said nice things behind my back and I started putting more effort into it. I was able to get a job with a consulting company that gave me some freedom, so I used my free time to write. I cranked out multiple short stories, and garnered multiple rejection letters, until 2011 when I sold And the Beat Goes Phut to Bewildering Stories. That’s when I circled back to a story I’d tried to write a couple decades earlier. I trimmed it, dramatically, and began work on what I hoped would be a novella. It ended up being a trilogy. Oh well.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always used the term to describe my life goals, but I started using it as a personal descriptor in 2017. By then I’d left my job and concentrated exclusively on writing. I had two comic book series, several one-offs coming, and The Brittle Riders was out and doing well. Being that I was fifty-six at the time, it was a risk. But, so far, so good.

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

SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY is both an interesting and cautionary tale. It starts with a ten-year-old, African American, boy being tossed out of a car in Omaha, Nebraska. He has a crisp fifty dollar bill his father gave him, before tossing him out, and not much else. It is very much a road story as he travels first into Omaha proper, and then across the U.S., until he ends up in the Marines while trying to do a favor for the New York mob. The name comes from a fictionalization of Elon Musk’s theories about enhancing humans with cybernetic implants.

What inspired you to write this book?

Funny story. A gentleman named Tye Feimster, owner of ©Watchdog Entertainment®, had a series of comics he asked me to review. As I did, I noticed one character in the background of all of them and I wanted to know him more. So, I wrote a ten-page sample of what I wanted to do with the character and submitted it. He liked it, but … you knew there was a but, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do a comic. My writing seemed more cinematic. One thing led to another and I signed a deal to write a movie. When I finished the movie I tried, again, to sell the comic as an ancillary and complementary intellectual property. I said I wanted to add some elements that weren’t in the film to give it depth. Tye thought that was a great idea but asked me to write a novel instead. Azoth Khem had the whole thing under contract before I’d finished chapter one. So, short answer, I tried to make a few bucks selling a comic and it all blew up.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Well, as author Steve Silver has noted, “McCormick says more in twelve words than others do in twelve paragraphs.” While that may be a tad hyperbolic, I do tend to be terse. Nancy Chandler, the owner of Azoth Khem, joked that The Brittle Riders was three hundred thousand words of gut punching sentences. SPLICE, however, is even more terse. It clocks in just under one hundred thousand words and I broke them out into eighty chapters to keep the story moving at breakneck speed.

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

Well, SPLICE was the character’s name in the comic books and Tye wanted to add Hit Bit Technology as it’s the link in all of his comics.

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

Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40). This kid goes through hell. Being an abandoned black kid in a primarily white city, already made somewhat paranoid by his parents, he never really catches a break. He learns early to be as invisible as possible. There are no heroes in this book. Splice grows up to be a super villain with an inexplicable support group.

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

Some of the experiences he goes through are based on stories I have heard from friends. The early strangers in the book are based on lonely old people who would talk to me on planes as I was shuttling between families. They tend to offer information no one cares about. Like how Herbie likes tacos with American cheese.

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

The holy trilogy, Heinlein, Asimov, and Clark, of course, but Walter M. Miller, A. E. Van Vogt, Clifford D. Simak, and Octavia Butler really punched my buttons. They wrote some brain bending stuff and my brain bent happily.

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

David Brin. Mostly because he has answered questions for me and given pointed advice. Also, he’s proud of his growth from his early work, and isn’t ashamed of how much better his stuff is now.

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

Tye and I knocked it out in an afternoon. We both have experience in graphics and knew what we wanted.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid to suck. You’re going to no matter what so just do it and move on. I once wrote “The yielding shall never commence” and thought it was good. It wasn’t, isn’t, and I learned.

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

Well, this group is your readers, but I hope some of them will become mine.

Splice Book CoverBill McCormick
Chicago, IL

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
PINTEREST
GOODREADS

SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY

Publisher: Azoth Khem Publishing

AMAZON
WALMART
BARNES&NOBLE

 

Author Interview: Cay Templeton

No one ever knew how to harness her energy and enthusiasm and Author Cay Templeton believes it comes out in her writing. She says of her writing: “I dream big and I write even bigger.”  Please welcome Cay to No Wasted Ink.

Author Cay TempletonMy name is Cay Templeton and I’m a city mouse who grew up in the country and finally moved to the city. I have no intentions of ever leaving this amazing place!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I love telling stories to everyone about absolutely everything.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I didn’t actually consider myself a writer until I was in college. I had written a few stories by then, sophisticated ones. It wasn’t until I was in college when I went into my mentor’s office and said, I’m going to be a writer. She was quite proud of me.

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

I am in the middle of a four book fairy tale in the Second Side Series. I found the first two were about Jack and the Beanstalk and the last two are about… I will say another fairy tale but I don’t want to ruin which one when you read it.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was in 1st grade we had a storyteller come into my grade school with a huge pad of paper. She told us several stories while she drew pictures on the pad that matched what she was talking about. I still remember the first story she told ‘As much as meat loves salt’. You can find the story on the internet.

When I walked out of the gym when she was finished all I could think was I hope I can captivate people the way she captivated me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to be conversational. So when you read my stuff, it’s almost like you’re standing next to me hearing me tell you the story.

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

It’s the definition of a thorn in your side, which is what Jack is to Sarah.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want people to find value in listening to everyone, even if you don’t agree with them, and decide for themselves what is going on in any situation.

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

Um… I would say more like there are a couple of moments that I wish I could be in the middle of. Sarah is certainly based off of me with her sassiness. Gregor is my ideal type of guy, I like the strong silent type which is just like my grandfather. I would give nothing to dance the Conti Rose with him.

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

Dr. Seuss – Still my favorite. I love how he knows how to captivate such a large and diverse group of people. He finds the kid like playfulness and still speak to adults.

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

Cliche I suppose but probably Austen. She showed me how to write strong women characters in their many forms in a society that would be inclined to think we are the weaker sex.

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

Letty Moreno – She was the graphic artist on the tv show I was working on at the time. She wasn’t just talented but she is excellent t taking what I tell her I want and putting it down. She actually made the beanstalk cover from scratch but she did an amazing job. I could not say enough praise towards her.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

When you decide you are going to do something or write something, tell others. Tell your friends, tell your parents, tell your teachers because now it’s out there. just knowing that others know you are doing it, it will hold you accountable to get it done.

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

I just hope you enjoy the stories. I always want my readers to be under the blanket as they enter into the world of my story. I want them to become 5 yrs again no matter what age they are. I want you to have fun or what’s the point?

The Conti Rose Book CoverCay Templeton
Los Angeles, CA

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM

The Conti Rose

Cover Artist: Letty Morina

AMAZON
CAY’S SHOP

Author Interview: Nils Odlund

Author Nils Ödlund is a Swedish writer, living in Ireland, who writes deep character driven stories set in an urban fantasy world. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Nils OdlundMy name is Nils Ödlund. I’m originally Swedish, but I’ve lived in Cork, Ireland for the past fourteen years. My day job is in customer support, and I spend most of my free time gaming, reading, or writing. I’m happily single, and tend to keep to myself, but even then, the isolation of the last year has worn on me. I try and keep active in various online writing communities, though – to have people to talk to and cut away from the day job for a bit.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing in 2011. Initially, I wanted to create a fantasy setting for a Pen & Paper RPG, but then a friend of mine suggested I write short-stories set in the world. I figured it’d be a good way to show off various aspects of the setting I’d created so I set to it, and then I never really stopped.

The short stories grew longer, and eventually they turned into novellas and novels. It’s been ages since I did any actual work on the setting, though.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I used to consider myself a gamer, and to a certain extent I still do. At some point, and I don’t quite remember when, I realized that I spent more time writing than I did playing games. That’s when.

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

My next book is called Nothing Left to Lose, and it’s the tenth book in the Lost Dogs series. Lost Dogs is the story of Roy van Waldenberger and Alene Moneya. Roy is a retired wrestler who’s on a journey to find the love of his life. Alene is an aspiring young journalist who decides she’s the one to tell Roy’s story.

Both Roy and Alene are therianthropes. Therianthropy is an affliction where the spirit of a predator takes up residence within the mind of a person. It makes the person stronger, faster, and tougher, but it also slowly turns them into an animal.

Much of the story focuses on Roy’s and Alene’s relationship with their respective inner beasts, and how it impacts their lives and their place in the world.

What inspired you to write this book?

Originally, I just wanted to show off the setting I created, and I needed an excuse for someone to go on a road-trip by train. It was just meant to be a series of short stories, but the stories grew, turned into novellas, and later novels.

The setting is still there, and it’s still important to the feel of the story, but it’s the characters who matter. I’m not going to say that they write the story, but getting to know them and figuring out who they are has definitely been a major inspiration outside of the original idea.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Can I say “blunt and evocative?” I try to avoid long flowery descriptions and instead focus on using words that trigger association and mental images. I believe that the imagination of the reader is a lot stronger than any words I can put on the page. I try to give them a framework that encourages them to fill out their own images, and to put part of themselves into the story.

Originally, I thought everyone was able to picture things in their mind, but then I learned of aphantasia, and how some people don’t have an inner eye that lets them see things. For a while, it troubled me, because my writing relies so heavily on the readers inner vision. I worried someone with aphantasia wouldn’t understand my books.

Eventually, I decided to keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve talked to people with aphantasia, and usually when descriptions get too long, they just skip or skim them. My descriptions are generally short, so I figured they’re easily skipped if they don’t make sense.

In addition to the above, I try to write in a plain and simple style. I’m not a native English speaker, and my command of the language (especially word flow) isn’t perfect. I try to be aware of this, and to limit myself to using only words I’m perfectly comfortable with. My hope is that this results in an easily readable and gently flowing prose, which does not trip up the reader.

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

Lost Dogs, the series, was originally going to be called Werewolves On A Train, but I decided to skip that. It carries too many connotations and gives a somewhat silly impression.

Within the world of the story, “dog” is a derogatory term for therianthropes (except between themselves), and since the two main characters of the story are a bit lost, each in their own way, the name stuck.

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

There are plenty of messages. Some are rather blunt and on the nose, others are more subtle. One recurring theme is that the world doesn’t wait and giving up is not an option. Life isn’t fair, everyone makes mistakes, and there is no simple solution.

That doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. Sometimes life is unfair in your favor.

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

My largest influences are probably Tove Jansson and Neil Gaiman.

Tove Jansson is a Finnish author and the creator of the Moomintrolls. Her writing style is absolutely amazing, and she has an uncanny ability to infuse even her children’s books with nuggets of timeless wisdom.

Neil Gaiman has this way with storytelling and world building where the fantastic elements feel solid and grounded. It’s like they’re a natural part of the world and not something cool that the author wants to impress me with.

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

I’m one of those writers who underestimated the importance of covers when they started out. I asked a local artist friend to do cover art for me. The art itself was great, but it didn’t work as a marketable cover for an indie fantasy book.

Eventually, I began tinkering with it, and discovered I could do acceptable covers myself. They’re not top-notch professional level, but they’re at a stage where I’m still not ashamed of them even if they’ve been around for a couple of years now.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you’re starting out. Seek other writers and learn from them. Ask for feedback, give feedback, and learn what feedback applies to your writing – because not all feedback is relevant feedback.

Also, don’t rush it. Writing is a long game.

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

While this will be the last book in the Lost Dogs series, it will not be the end of Roy and Alene. Their story isn’t over.

Nils ÖdlundBook Cover
Cork, Ireland.

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
GOODREADS

Last Fight of the Old Hound

AMAZON

Author Interview: LD Whitney

Author L.D. Whitney was born on the plains, but calls the Southwest his home. He believes that adventure is around every corner. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author LD WhitneyWell, I suppose I should start with my name. I’m Logan, though I publish under L.D.Whitney. I’m a history teacher in New Mexico, though my first career was as an archeologist. I grew up in Nebraska, but I’ve lived and traveled all over. I’m a big hiker, and try do as much “adventuring” as I can. I also co-host a podcast called “Rogues in the House”, where my fellow rogues and I discuss the Sword & Sorcery genre. I like with my fiance, dog Franklin, and a lionhead rabbit named Hopps.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved reading since and early age, but I am kind of slow about it and need something that keeps my interest. When I couldn’t find it consistently, I just decided to write it myself.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Definitely after my first short story was published. I was still writing my novel, but took a break to do a few short stories. I felt that if someone was willing to pay me for my writing, I could consider myself a writer. Now have got about half a dozen floating shorts out there.

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

“Remnant” is my first novel, and the brainchild of many of my interests. I wanted to write something that combined exotic adventure and the good old-fashioned creature feature. Throw in a bit of Tarzan and a bit of Indiana Jones, and you’ve got “Remnant”.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was watching the Ray Harryhausen film “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”, actually. Near the end of the film Centaur and a Griffin duke it out. I knew wanted to write something where two creatures had an epic fight.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I describe myself as a “Pulp Author”. I write in a style very much inspired by Robert E. Howard, and H. P. Lovecraft.

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

The title was originally “Existence” though when my book was picked up by Primal Publishing, we decided on “Remnant” as it better reflected its place as a Prehistoric Thriller.

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

Oh man. I guess of I had to have a message, it would be “the natural world is a precious resource”. Despite much of the danger stemming from nature, the protagonists are conservationists at heart.

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

Haha! I wish! No, no they are not. Id like to say they are based a little on me, but that might be stretching it.

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

Oh man, that’s tough! A lot of my favorite authors are from the early 1900s and as such, have views and opinions I don’t really aspire to, despite my love of their fiction. What really inspires me about the Pulp Era was the imagination displayed by these people who were writing to basically meet deadlines and sell stories for one cent a word or whatever. Took a lot of hard work and dedication to craft k out fiction like that.

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

I wouldn’t really say I have a mentor, though Matt, one of my podcast co-hosts is also a writer and I kind of consider him a friendly rival in a way. His success really kicked me in the butt to work hard on my writing.

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

The illustrator, Stephen Moore, was actually picked by the lead editor at Primal Publishing. He is a really talented Paleo-artist specializes in Prehistoric animals, so someone familiar with that kind of thing was a natural choice.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

For novels, write what you want to read. That’s important in getting you to the end. For short stories, read the submission guidelines and the read them again! Stick to word counts, and sub styles. And write to the market. Don’t just submit something you haven’t sold already. Create something fresh specifically for the publication in question.

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

Go out there and find adventure.

Remnant Book CoverL.D. Whitney
Albuquerque, NM

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM

Remnant

Cover Artist: Stephen Moore
Publisher: Primal Publishing

AMAZON