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Author Interview: PG Badzey

Author PG Badzey writes the Grey Riders trilogy of epic fantasy fiction. His novels are unique for their perspective on Christianity in a fantasy setting and for using science-based magic systems. I’m honored to introduce this upcoming author here on No Wasted Ink.

Author P G BadzeyI am Pete Badzey (my author name is PG Badzey) and I am an author of epic fantasy fiction. Although my background is in engineering (I have spent 29 years in the aerospace industry), I have loved books and writing since childhood. My mother and one of my brothers were both English teachers for a time and I grew up surrounded by stories, storytelling, and literature. My novels are unique in that they feature Christian characters in a fantasy environment and use a science-based magic system.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in my teens when my high school teacher told us to free-write whatever we wanted. As I was a big sci-fi fan at the time, I wrote a scene of a space battle. I enjoyed it so much that I made it my hobby. When I went off to college I even gave short stories to my siblings as Christmas presents, with them as the main characters, because I didn’t have any money. By my college years, I had moved on to Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Katherine Kurtz, so these were my primary influences in gravitating towards fantasy. Later, I read more books by a variety of authors, from Louis L’Amour to Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. Some of the works were very good, but I felt dissatisfied with others and decided that, someday, I was going to try to write my own novels and do better.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I had three short fantasy stories accepted by an online fantasy humor magazine named Dragonlaugh back in the 1990’s. When I first picked up the payment check in the mail, I felt that I had become a writer. Of course, I was technically a writer long before that, but at that time, at least, I felt I had made enough of an impression on someone else to convince them to publish me.

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

I have self-published an epic fantasy trilogy, the Grey Riders series, and the first book is Whitehorse Peak. It’s the story of a group of young mercenaries in a race against an evil cult to find an ancient, secret weapon near the wilderness on the border of a great kingdom. It follows their adventures, relationships, secrets and challenges as they also find out that their exploits have been foretold by a prophecy. The novel is really a coming-of-age story, similar to what recent college graduates might experience as they head out into the world, except the environment is medieval fantasy. The main characters all have to learn to work together towards a common goal even though they are different races, backgrounds, and religions. The trilogy is rare in fantasy fiction because some of the characters are Christians in a fantasy environment. It also has a science-based magic system, something that comes naturally to me since my vocational training is in science and engineering.

What inspired you to write this book?

I really wanted to offer an alternative to many works of fantasy that didn’t offer a positive approach to faith and religion and treated good and evil as if they were political parties rather than defining forces in the universe. I also saw a lot of fiction in a medieval fantasy setting that was either casually dismissive or openly hostile to Christianity, which I thought odd since Christianity was intimately involved in the real-life medieval world in both positive and negative ways.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend towards immersive realism, where I try to involve all the senses of the reader (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) as much as possible to bring the imaginary world of the Grey Riders to life. This is challenging since many of the creatures and environments (not to mention magic!) don’t exist in the real world. I have also been described as a very “visual” writer whose works read like a movie, which is accurate since I have to envision scenes and events in the novels in my head and play them out before I can write them down.

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

Whitehorse Peak is the name of a mountain that is key to the quest of the Grey Riders. It is part of the geography I created for my D&D game and it was inspired by names of actual places cited in many of Louis L’Amour’s Western novels.

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

There are several messages that I think are important: the value of friendship, acceptance of others despite differences, selflessness, the courage to do what is right, and faith in God when all seems hopeless. I try to show these ideals in the characters and their choices (some of which are right and some of which are wrong) to inspire readers to strive towards these positive goals in their own lives.

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

I was partly inspired to write Whitehorse Peak by the close friendships I had with the young engineers I met on my first job – we all played D&D together and I felt that our relationships had the makings of a great story. The main characters in Whitehorse Peak are based on the characters that my friends played in the game and the plot lines are based on their adventures. We are still in contact with each other many years later.

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

In fantasy, the following authors are inspiring to me: JRR Tolkien (because of his lyrical style and understanding of the role of myth in history), CS Lewis (for his ability to bring religious concepts into a fantasy setting), Terry Brooks (for his creativity and sense of adventure), Katherine Kurtz (who showed how to integrate the medieval Church in fantasy), and C Dale Brittain and Christopher Stasheff (for showing how to meld magic and religion with a sense of humor and fun). These authors all grasp the heroic ideal while showing that a true hero always strives to do what is right even when sacrifice is required.

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

C Dale Brittain has been a mentor to me, always answering my questions, pointing out pitfalls, offering advice when asked, and being supportive of my efforts. We still correspond occasionally and I am grateful for her kind attention and helpfulness.

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

Bookfuel designed the book cover for Whitehorse Peak (and indeed, for the entire trilogy). I chose them because they took the time to really get to know the story I was telling in the novel and try to integrate key symbols and concepts into the cover art. They have been extremely easy to work with and have designed three first-rate covers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writers are so often told “no” by agents and publishers without any explanation as to why our writing was not accepted that it is easy to think that we stand no chance. It is important to realize a few things – first, that the new publishing universe has resulted in an oversupply, so patience and determination are really critical virtues; second, that writing improves if it is a regular discipline and if we are willing to learn from others; third, that writing a novel is only part of the work and that marketing is more time-consuming and fourth, that writers should really enjoy what they do for its own sake, not for the goal of becoming a millionaire and being world-famous. If you reach even one reader with your message, that is a victory.

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

I hope that they like Whitehorse Peak (and its sequels, Eye of Truth and Helm of Shadows) and take the time to think about them. I am always glad to hear constructive feedback, both positive and negative, and don’t mind if people disagree with me – it would be an odd world if we all thought in lock-step. I would hope that they read all three books and stay on the lookout for more in the continuing series. I intend to be writing for many more years with great stories to tell and would like readers to journey with me.

Whitehorse Peak Book Cover.jpgPG Badzey
Huntington Beach, California, USA

Whitehorse Peak

Cover art by Bookfuel

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Author Interview: SL Perrine

Please welcome Author S.L. Perrine to No Wasted Ink.

Author SL PerrineMy name is S.L. Perrine, some people know me as Shannon. I am a wife, a mother, a medical assistant, and on more than an occasion, I write Paranormal books.
I grew up in Central NY, and have gotten many degrees. Some I’ve used for a short while trying to find the ‘practical’ career. Others I knew right away were not going to work for me. However, my Criminal Justice Degree and Psychology Degree, as well as my medical experience have helped tremendously with some of my stories.

When and why did you begin writing?

I am Shannon. Although, I’ve never felt like a Shannon. Mostly because I’ve been a mom for eighteen years. I have a wonderful husband. I am a licensed Cosmetologist, Medical Assistant, and have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

I would prefer to spend most of my time at home, other than work, that is. I try to make time to visit my friends and my parents at least, but I hate leaving my house, so nobody else sees me. That’s put a strain on my relationship with my siblings (I have nine). I’m trying to change that.

I like to read. I know, big shocker. I also enjoy crocheting, painting, drawing, and writing. I’m a huge fan of camping. If you follow my Instagram you would have seen lots of camping pictures last summer. This summer will be crazy, we’ve got a seasonal site and are buying a camper. Love to fish, and I bait my own hook. A country girl never leaves the mind, even if the body now lives in the city.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t know that I have, or that I ever will. I think of myself as a creator. I create worlds and characters. I create stories and art. While most of my art is in the form of the written word, I do create graphics as well. I am also a web designer. So, with that said, I am neither. I’m a creator.
To me, a writer is someone who only writes. Maybe a poet or a journalist. I create.

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

Blood Rites begins the journey into the Crawford witch line. It tells the story of a young Seraphina Crawford, corrupted by anger and fueled by blood. She will do anything to keep her friends safe because they are the only family she has left. She goes against everything she’s been taught. The biggest betrayal, Do No Harm.

She kills, and with each kill, she gains powers to do what she thinks is justice, but is really revenge. When she finally realizes she may have gone too far, it might be too late for her. She may lose all that she worked so hard to protect. Her best friend, the love of two boys who compete for her affections, and the people she chose to lead.

What inspired you to write this book?

My love of everything Wiccan, and the paranormal. I started the original story a few years ago and decided my readers needed to know how that tale came about. The original is a YA series, but The Blood Rites Trilogy is NA.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I enjoy showing my readers my stories. If Someone is going to lean against a wall suggestively, then that what I type. I like being descriptive, allowing the readers to imagine a scene in their mind as they go because that’s how I write it. I visualize everything as I write it out. I never plot a story or come up with an outline beforehand. I just sit, let the images come to me and type it out as they do. That way I’m just as surprised by the outcome as my readers are.

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

Blood Rites is named after the blood rite ritual my characters in The Crawford Witch Chronicles have to go through to get their full strength of powers and bind their coven. It’s a ritual that takes place after each of the members of the coven turns eighteen, during the winter solstice.

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

We are all human, and thus we make mistakes. Seraphina is just a child when she decides to take on the world. She goes about it the wrong way, but for the right reasons, and eventually makes amends for those mistakes.
We all make mistakes in life, but it’s never too late to make amends.

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

I’ve studied Wicca and witchcraft for most of my adult life. I have used what I’ve learned, and what I practice keeping the stories as accurate as possible.

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

Before I became a member of the indie world, being published and whatnot, I found Nora Roberts very inspiring. Though I was tired of the same old same old. Somebody found out something, meets someone, falls in love but fights it, gives in, finds out something that separated them, then eventually they made up and happily ever after was the ending.
Life and stories are not all the same. They should have a different makeup, or flow, making each one independent from the rest.

When I became published I found two women to be influential in my writing. The first, my publisher and fellow Author, Kindra Sowder at Burning Willow Press. She is a powerhouse. She has a full-time job and all the duties of running a company, but all those titles she has out is so impressive. I have strived to have the work ethic she has.
The other is my good friend, fellow Author and once a publisher, Nikki Yager AKA the Dragon Queen or The Dragon’s Rocketship. She has been my sounding board, my supporter and my friend over the last few years. I don’t know what I would do without her. Both, the Crawford Witch Chronicles and Blood Rites were the results of very long conversations. She let me bounce ideas off her for weeks when these series were just crawling into my mind.

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

I would say, Chad Dennis. He’s my imaginary friend. In 2012, we met playing an online war game. He told me he was a writer, and when I told him I was starting a book, he kept on me every day to write. Even a little bit. We both finished our books that year, but life got in the way for him. I know he’s back at it again, and hope one day I get to see the next masterpiece.

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

Aurelia Fray at Pretty AFDesigns. My publisher at Vamptasy and CHBB Publishing assigned her to me, and I must say I was blown away by her concept. I gave her a few key points, and with a few minor tweaks, because I’m anal, she nailed it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write. Don’t say there is no time. Make time. Don’t say you can’t come up with an idea, just sit and let it flow. The idea will come to you. Even if the first thing you write is absolute garbage, and maybe the second will be too. However, if you want it bad enough, then the idea will come and the words will flow.

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

Without my readers, I would be doing this for the same reason I started, to just put the stories somewhere that others can see it. Now, I write for another reason. To entertain those who don’t have the imagination to entertain others. To give people hopes and dreams, love and loss, and above all else…Art. Writing is just another art form. A means of expression. I enjoy expressing myself for all of you, so thank you!

blood rites book coverSL Perrine
Saratoga Springs, New York

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Author Interview: Douglas Van Belle

Douglas A. Van Belle is an award winning New Zealand science fiction and fantasy writer who is known for bringing his extensive academic research background into his work. From flash fiction to feature films, his eclectic work mixes drama, humor, science, and speculation on the human universe to produce unpredictable stories. I am pleased to be able to interview him here on No Wasted Ink.

author-douglas-van-belleWhen and why did you begin writing?

The flippant answer is: Very young and because I could.

There’s actually a lot of truth to that, but a more serious answer is that I was a voracious reader from well before I even started school and writing always seemed to be part and parcel of being a reader. There is one moment that stands out in my memory. When I was about six or seven, I saw someone’s Hugo statue on display at the local public library, and I became just a tad obsessed with winning one. The librarian (who is a story in and of himself) told me that I had to read, read, read, read first, so I read every bit of science fiction and fantasy that I could get my hands on, including a lot that was absolutely inappropriate for my age, and not too long after that, I started writing. I enjoyed the writing even more than the reading, and over the years I have kept writing simply and solely because it was something I enjoyed.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Always and not quite yet.

To be honest, there wasn’t really a first moment. I could point to key events along the way to the big book contract that includes my latest novel, Breathe. I published my first article in the local paper when I was a teenager, wrote a commissioned piece not long after that, my first research article came out when I was in my early 20’s, followed a few years later by my first book. My first serious attempt at fiction was a novella that was published in 2006, my first novel came out in 2010, and I sol my first feature film in 2013, but the truth is that I have always been a writer.

I also don’t really think that I am a writer and I kind of hope that I never do. I still spend several hours a week working on odd little writing exercises, and experimenting with style, form and other aspects of the craft. I don’t really need to do any of that anymore, but I also suspect that the moment you stop thinking you need to learn, refine and improve your craft, you lose something.

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

The premise of Breathe is that the catastrophic failure of the first base on Ganymede leaves nine people trapped in an emergency refuge that can only recycle enough air for four. As you might imagine, it doesn’t end well.

However, even with that setup, I can guarantee that the story goes places that you absolutely will not expect. No matter what you think you are seeing in the first third of the book, it will almost certainly turn out to be something different that it seems. That is particularly true in regards to the elements relating to gender and sex. One of the key story elements in the book regards the clash between intellect and the human animal, and some of the set up in the first third of the novel looks like stereotypical, old-school gender BS. The book is old-school hard science fiction, but not in that way. It’s a setup and I doubt if you will expect where it goes.

What inspired you to write this book?

Funny story there, but I never really imagined Breathe as a novel. It started when a TV producer in New Zealand asked me if I would adapt some of my short fiction for the screen and write some original short films for a Twilight Zone style show. Breathe started as one of those short films. As is usually the case, the TV show died a slow and gruesome death while “in development” but a short script for Breathe was so popular among everyone who helped try to get the show off the ground that I just couldn’t let it die.

The first attempt to turn it into a feature-length film was an absolute atrocity and the project was abandoned, but about six months after that, I started asking myself questions about how such a catastrophic failure of the base might occur. I wrote about a third of a feature film script, discovered the real story wasn’t what I thought it was. That process took about three years, but once I discovered the story, the novel itself only took a couple of months.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes and no, and this one isn’t a flippant answer. The former is the reason for the latter.

Treating writing as a verb, so that style refers to the way I approach the process of writing, then yes, I have a clear and defining style. I write primarily as an act of discovery. I grab a story idea, a character, setting, situation, or anything else that might serve as a starting point and just start writing. Breathe actually started with the producer saying he wanted a story in a single room of a space ship so he could reuse a set from one of the other stories in the TV series. I played with that a half dozen different ways until I had the husband, the jilted wife and the mistress trapped in that room, then I stopped and outlined the story that became Breathe.

I do the same with just about everything. Write until I discover the parts I need, then outline the story. It’s messy, and I throw a lot of what I write away, but I also end up with stories that go in directions I would have never imagined if I started with a plan or an outline.

Treating writing as a noun, so that style refers to the stylistic elements of the stories, novels, and films I write, then no, I don’t have a style and that is because of the way I write. The style of the story is one of the things I have to discover. As is the form, the narrative voice, details of the point of view and everything else.

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

It was the working title for the short. I slapped on there just to identify it and keep track of the files and it turned out to be just too perfect to change.

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

A lot of my academic research focuses on the human, social and political aspects of disasters, so I draw from that and I draw from the years I spent working in construction prior to becoming an academic. The base is a construction site and the combination of people reflect the collection of imperfect souls that would end up building a base out at the edge of human civilization.

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

Pick a science fiction author, or to a lesser degree a fantasy author, and there is probably something they have written that influenced or inspired. I could toss out a few names, such as Larry Niven, James White, Or Ursula K. LeGuin, but given the eclectic combination of stories that emerge out of the way I write, it would be a bit disingenuous to single out one or even a handful.

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

I wouldn’t. For most of my life I wrote fiction simply for the fun of it, and as a result I didn’t start engaging the social and professional side of the community of science fiction writers until fairly recently. By the time I started attending conventions and meeting fellow writers I already had two novels published and I was reasonably well established. I do get some wonderful advice and feedback from other authors. This is a tremendously generous profession, but it isn’t what most would consider mentoring

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

Jeff Fennel, a friend out of California and probably one of the most underrated artists around. He does a lot of translucent paint on metal pieces and they are absolutely fabulous. I was talking about Breathe and he said he had a great idea for a cover. Turns out he had a dozen variations on a great idea and my publisher is using several of them as a way to help Jeff showcase his work.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yeah, nothing that you write is precious. Every writer has to find a balance between discovering the story as they write and the structured, outlined and planned writing of a story. However, if you think that anything that you write is precious, you will never be able to find that balance. My rule of thumb is that I should throw away at least as many pages as I keep. You may end up keep more or less, but you MUST be throwing some away.

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

Yeah, nothing that you write is precious. Every writer has to find a balance between discovering the story as they write and the structured, outlined and planned writing of a story. However, if you think that anything that you write is precious, you will never be able to find that balance.

breathe-book-coverDouglas A. Van Belle
Kapiti Coast, New Zealand

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Cover Artist: Jeff Fennel
Publisher: Intergalactic Media Group

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Author Interview: Dana Hammer

Author Dana Hammer is a writer, a housewife, a blood and guts enthusiast, and a lady. She hopes you enjoy her writing. When I heard her read from Rosemary’s Baby Daddy I was laughing so hard I about rolled on the floor. I’m excited to introduce this upcoming author here on No Wasted Ink.

author-dana-hammerMy name is Dana Hammer, and I’m introducing myself to you. It’s hard to know where to start with this sort of thing, because I don’t know who YOU are. Maybe you’re the kind of person who just wants the facts, ma’am, and you just want to know, like, where I live and how old I am and stuff. But maybe you’re a more curious sort, and you want to know my favorite movies and what my hobbies are. Or maybe you’re a creep and you just want to know if you can have a pair of my used panties. In order to cover my bases, I will answer all of those questions, in order.

  1. I live in Anaheim.
  2. I am 34 years old.
  3. My favorite movies are Kill Bill, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Django Unchained and I Heart Huckabees.
  4. My hobbies are: writing, enjoying art of varying quality, reading the profiles of prospective adoptive couples online and judging their suitability as parents, and birding.
  5. No, you cannot.

I hope this has been informative!

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written little things here and there, mostly to amuse myself when I was bored. I started writing in a more serious way when I worked in finance, because I hated that job with my whole heart, and writing kept me sane.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Honestly, not until I published my first book. Though I fully subscribe to the notion that a
writer is a writer both before and after publication.

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

Sure! It’s called Rosemary’s Baby Daddy, and it’s a comedic fantasy novel about a woman
named Lori who gets impregnated with a demon’s baby. She decides to abort the baby to hide her infidelity from her husband, but then the abortion clinic gets destroyed by a freak lightning storm. From then on, all kinds of crazy events happen.

Meanwhile, the father, the demon Pazuzu, can’t stop meddling in Lori’s life. He knows he’d be a really terrible father, but he can’t help himself; he’s always wanted a baby. In addition, he has to somehow protect his baby from his ex-girlfriend, Lamashtu, who is the demoness responsible for baby death.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a terrible, terrible pregnancy. Pretty much anything you can think of that can go wrong with a pregnancy – yeah – that happened. So I wrote this book to cheer myself up.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to think of myself as a concise, direct writer. If you want a lot of purple prose and
descriptions of the sky, I’m not your gal. My goal is to tell a story and to entertain you, and I hope my style helps me to achieve that.

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

Actually, I didn’t. I was having a lot of trouble with that, and a friend of mine, Rhiannon
Aarons suggested “Rosemary’s Baby Daddy”. At first I was like… my character’s name isn’t Rosemary. But then I was like, so what?

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

I don’t know that I’d call it a message, but there is a definite theme, or “moral”, if you will. Basically, this book is a metaphor for how pregnancy (and new parenthood) throws your life into total disarray. You behave in ways and associate with people you never thought you would. You’re shocked at what you’re willing to sacrifice, and what changes you’re prepared to make, in order to be a good parent. Your body becomes a strange, alien thing that you don’t even recognize. You start to care deeply about things you never gave a thought to before; like which preschools in your area have Mandarin immersion programs and which restaurants have high chairs. It’s trippy.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or something from real life?

Not really. I was pregnant when I wrote this, but Lori is nothing like me. Oh, and I’ve never had sex with a demon.

Although,there is one part that was loosely inspired by real life. One day, when I was about four months pregnant, I was sitting in my living room and I heard this really strange squawking. It was birds, but not any birds I’d ever heard around here before. So I went outside and saw a FLOCK OF PARROTS. In Anaheim! Right outside! I thought I was going insane! Then I found out that there are actual flocks of wild parrots in Orange County; mostly former pets that have escaped from homes. But this incident was sort of the inspiration for the scene in the book where birds attack Lori’s house.

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

I read a lot of Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe during my formative years, and I still love
them both. I’m not sure if my fondness for dark subjects was something I learned from reading them, or if I read them because they spoke to my pre-existing fondness, but either way, they are both quite inspiring to me. I love any writer who isn’t afraid to embrace subjects that many people might find scary or unpleasant.

I also love Christopher Moore and Douglas Adams. Their madcap, quirky and hilarious stories make me super happy. If I could be any writer in the world, I’d be one of them. If I work really hard, maybe someday I might be worthy of fetching Christopher Moore a cup of coffee or polishing Douglas Adam’s tombstone, but I’m not there yet.

Is there a writer you would consider a mentor?

I wish! If a really great author wanted to mentor me, I would be so excited, I wouldn’t be able to contain myself. It’s all I would talk about. I would name drop endlessly, and eventually, my poor mentor would get sick of me and probably take out a restraining order against me, and that would be the end of the mentorship. But thus far, no one has reached out to me with the offer. If I could choose my mentor, no question, it would be Christopher Moore. But there are literally dozens of writers I would love to have as mentors, too.

Who designed the cover of your book?

Sheryl Sopot from Hyperchick Design did my book cover. I chose her because she’s
awesome, and we’ve been friends for years.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. Be independently wealthy. Failing that, marry someone who will support you financially while you write. You need to have free time if you’re going to write a book; you can’t be spending all your time at an office doing spreadsheets. Also, read a lot. It makes writing a lot easier. Also, alcohol is your friend. Unless you’re an alcoholic. Then candy is your friend.

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

Thank you for reading my book! I really hope you enjoy it.

rosemarys-baby-daddy-book-coverDana Hammer
Anaheim, California

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Cover Artist: Sheryl Sopot

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Author Interview: Lillian Nader

How would I describe Author Lillian Nader? For one, she is a writer for fun and profit. Expect the unexpected! Please give her a warm welcome here on No Wasted Ink.

author-lillian-naderI am Lillian Nader, an author, dreamer, freelance copyeditor, retired special education teacher, and part-time tutor. My name originated with my cousin, Lillian Ann, who asked my pregnant mom to name me after her when the Ouija board said I would be a girl. Weird things have happened to me ever since. My favorite poem is “Find Your Own Voice” by Jayne Cortez. I prefer outdoor walks for exercise, especially at the beach or in beautiful parks with large shade trees and small squirrels. My favorite people are other writers, metaphysicians, and my family. I have a lot of cousins and two older siblings but no spouse or children of my own. I rely on close friendships of extended family and confidantes. I participate in dream work with a small group called Sacred Dreamers and I frequent writers’ groups all over Orange County, CA. My professional memberships include SWCA, Southern California Writers Association; PWOC/PWSD, Publishers and Writers of Orange County and San Diego; and IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association.

When and why did you begin writing?

I grew up in Marshall, a small town in East Texas and moved to California to pursue a writing career in 1981. While I was taking a script writing class, I met a lyricist, Larry Marino, who was in search of a cowriter for his musical, Pandora. We embarked upon a successful collaboration to the completion of the script with me as the librettist. It was my love for the theater and Larry’s incredible talent that spurred me on.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I became a published author of instructional workbooks with two California publishers of educational materials for the classroom, I considered myself a writer. One workbook, Native Americans: A Proud Heritage became a best seller for the classroom several years in a row.

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

Thanks for asking about my newly released sci-fi book for young readers, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space. Jonathon Curtis is the fourteen year old narrator of the story. He has the ability to manifest objects out of nowhere, but he doesn’t know how to control his gift. His emotions take over and get him into trouble, landing him on Planet Staruus. The planet houses troubled kids from an overpopulated Earth and is thought to be uninhabited, but it isn’t. Theep and Thorpe are enlightened space beings who establish telepathic communication with Jonathon, and the fun begins.

What inspired you to write this book?

My artist friend, Angelo Divino, created two colorful and friendly looking space beings, and I was inspired to write about them. Their names came to me first, based on the concept that each of us has a unique sound frequency as well as fingerprints to distinguish us from one another. It occurred to me that space beings would use their sound frequencies in place of names. The names, Theep and Thorpe, are approximate sounds to the actual frequencies, which cannot be spoken with our voices. Years later, the actual story began to take shape in the form of a novel.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am a character driven writer, which means I start with characters that interest me, put them in weird situations, and figure out the plot from there. In Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, I chose the narrative style of a troubled teen and used both internal and external dialogue to advance the story. His encounter with space beings is entirely from his point of view. I like to insert humor using a sprinkle of sarcasm and a bit of irony as part of my show, don’t tell strategy.

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

Since the book is about space beings and I am a character based author, I naturally gave their names, Theep and Thorpe, in the title to go with their images on the cover. I came up with the subtitle to give the reader more information about the story, and to distinguish it from other books in the series.

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

“Thoughts are things” is the overall theme of the story. Jonathon has the power of manifestation, and Theep and Thorpe teach him how to control his gift by choosing positive, productive thoughts.

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

Yes, I drew upon my experiences as a teacher in a juvenile court school for part of the setting although it changed drastically as soon as it became housed on the fictional Planet Staruus.

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

I was influence by J D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye for the narrative style of my book and J K Rowling’s Harry Potter for motivation. As a special education teacher working with reluctant readers when the Harry Potter books were released, I noticed my students were choosing those books of their own volition. This made a big impression on me;

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

Oh, yes. I have at least two writing mentors. One is Marjorie Miles, author of Healing Haiku: A Poetic Prescription for Surviving Cancer, who teaches a class I’ve been taking for the past four years. Dr. Miles encourages creative expression through free writing activities. The other mentor is Dr. Heather Friedman Rivera, author of the Prism Walker fantasy series for young readers along with nonfiction and fiction for adults. Heather is my weekly writer’s check-in partner. We email each other once a week with our writing goals, successes, and encouragement for one another. She is also a revered beta reader and writing coach.

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

My book cover was designed by Laura Gordon Moyer at The Book Cover Machine. She was referred to me by Heather Rivera, and I loved the design she did for Heather’s books. She worked with the original artist/creator of the space images and me for the design. Laura is responsive, cooperative, extremely talented, and reasonably priced.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Listen to your inner voice. Study the craft of writing, consult experts and peer readers and writers for their opinions, but always stay true to your inner voice. Each of us has a unique voice that only we can express. Dream big and don’t give up on your dreams. Surround yourself with positive people and energy. Participate in professional groups with other writers. Build an author’s platform to express your own voice. Have fun.

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

Thanks for choosing Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space for your reading pleasure. Always remember, thoughts are things! ***

custom-book-cover-lillian-new-small-fileLillian Nader
Yorba Linda, California

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Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space
Cover Artists: Laura Gordon Moyer
and Angelo Divino

AMAZON