Tag Archives: books

Author Interview: Daniel F. Bowman

Daniel F. Bowman writes historical fiction focusing on clashing cultures. He is the winner of a publishing contest by Creative Print Publishing in the UK. I am very pleased to welcome Daniel here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Daniel F. BowmanBesides writing historical fiction, I enjoy an eclectic range of hobbies: playing piano and composing music, hand balancing, reading Greek, Hebrew and Latin, and teaching English as a Second Language to students from over fifteen countries. I’m married to my first and only girlfriend, and I play at the park with my two young children, as this gives me an excuse to hang on the monkey bars. We live in West Michigan.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I was a child, I wrote 1½-page stories of alien abductions, quitting before the main character ever made it to the spacecraft! I also liked the idea of writing pirate novels, though these always fell apart after the third mutiny—lack of ideas! During college, I began writing a couple fantasy stories, which flopped because I never knew the endings.

I found the solution to my problem to this problem while watching a History Channel episode about the Goths. I stared at the screen as I heard how a group of farmer-soldiers was cheated by Rome but stood against her, though she was the greatest empire in the world. They refused to put up with her abuse. The program ended: “Oppression sires rebellion, and when pushed too far, even the weak and the shattered can rise to challenge their oppressor.”

This story had a clear outline for me: I knew how the book would end, as well as where the characters had to be on certain dates. At the same time, the lack of details in this time period gave me freedom.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I would define a writer as someone who not just completed a written work but improved it to the point of getting positive feedback from others, whether or not it is published. I was definitely a writer by the time I completed the rough draft of Alaric.

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

“Alaric, Child of the Goths” is about Alaric, the son of a Gothic clan leader, who wants nothing more than to live an adventure. That is, until his young life is interrupted by a series of brutal acts: the raiding of the savage Huns, the cruel trickery of greedy Roman officials, and the murder of his father. Meanwhile, another clan leader named Fritigern leads the Goths in battle against Rome’s armies. But they endure—and from that moment on, they are driven to survive in the face of death, to make a home for their people, and to exact revenge on Rome at the epic battle of Adrianople.

It is the first book in a trilogy which will trace Alaric as he grows up in a foreign land divided between conflicting nationalities—his Gothic ancestry and his Roman citizenship. This struggle will culminate as Alaric is forced to decide between settling for less than he deserves or risking everything in order to gain what no one will give him: the highest rank in the Roman army.

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

As a trilogy about the main character, each part of the trilogy has his name and his primary characteristic in its story.

“Alaric, Child of the Goths”
“Alaric, Soldier of Rome”
“Alaric, Enemy of Rome”

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

I want readers to feel that they have hope no matter what happens. Nothing is decided until it is over.

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

Stephen R. Lawhead is my favorite. He has written fantasy and sci-fi, along with historical fiction (usually with a fantasy twist). I’ve read his “Song of Albion” and “King Raven” series numerous times. Even though I know what will happen, I can’t wait to experience it again.
Bernard Cornwell’s “Warlord Trilogy” is like Lawhead’s—I’m always ready to enter that world again.

Steven Pressfield has the best descriptions of the brutality of the past, most notably the training of the Spartans in “Gates of Fire.” He also has the best one liner, aptly spoken by a laconic Spartan officer at Thermopolae, following a day of holding off the Persian hordes: “Not today, you sons of whores! Not today!”

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

Creative Print Publishing (in the UK) held a writing competition in 2012. From over 600 entries, I was one of twelve winners. Each winner received publication and a cover designed by Phillip Grizzell. As a first time indie writer, this was an excellent beginning. I spent no money on publishing, only on copies for signings and giveaways.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The best advice is often the most obvious. For some reason, all of us want the secret formula that guarantees success, while ignoring the common sense and hard work necessary to achieve it.

In order to write well:

1. Read actively.

Depending on your schedule, set a goal. It may be one novel a week, whatever you can handle.

Try to read the 100 books that are most similar to what you wish to write. This helps you find your niche (how your book is unique) as well as what people expect from your genre.

But don’t get stuck on your genre. As you read others, pay attention to characters that you like (or hate). What can you use from the battles, scenic descriptions, dialogues?

If you don’t have time to read, get audio books. I listen to these on my commute, while I wash dishes, and as I fall asleep.

2. Write consistently.

Again, set a goal. 1,000 words per day seems like a noble goal. But pick a number you can easily achieve.

As you write, keep track of things you’ll need to change. But keep going! It’s more important to finish a rough draft than to make a good rough draft.

3. Test regularly.

It’s great if you love your book. It’s better if others love it, too.

Share it with friends and family. (Especially if they can give you more input than just “Good job.”) During this time, don’t even look at it. This way you can later read it fresh.

You need to know that your book is the best you can make it, so that you don’t give up when rejection letters arrive.
When it’s ready, sent it to competitions, agents, publishers.

In sum: set goals, stay consistent, and enjoy meeting your characters and building your world!

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

Thank you! Write to ask questions or talk about Alaric. As a newer author, I will respond.

I also want to brag about my wife Amanda, the unsung heroine of this project. She not only read and edited the book multiple times, but she also designed the map and spent way too much time listening to me repeat myself as I kept telling her what was happening as I wrote it.

Thanks for your time and questions, Wendy.

You are very welcome, Daniel! Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed here on No Wasted Ink.

Alaric Child of Goths Book CoverDaniel F. Bowman
West Michigan, USA


Publisher: Creative Print Publishing
Cover Artist: Philip Grizzell


No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWhy here it is, Monday once again! It is time for your weekly dose of No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links. I found plenty of general writing tip articles this time around, I’m hoping that they will inspire you as much as they me. Enjoy!

Why keep a notebook?

A Monday In The Life Of A Writer

Combating Platform Fatigue And Thinking Long Term For Your Writing Career With Dan Blank (Podcast)

Real Life Diagnostics: Avoiding the Triple Threat: Show vs Tell, POV Shifts, and Passive Voice

Why Listening Must Come Before Writing

How to Write an Effective Blurb for a Self-Published Book

Why Does Everyone Keep Trying to Reinvent the Book?

5 Pinterest Stats To Consider

On the Fence About Self-Publishing? Take the Plunge!

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Book Review: Ender’s Game

Book Name: Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
First Published: 1985
Nebula Award Winner 1985, Hugo Award Winner 1986, Locus Award Nominee 1986

Orson Scott Card is a novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist, and columnist. He is best known for his science fiction and fantasy novels. His novel Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win both of these top awards in consecutive years. Down through the years, many of his novels have received top honors in the science fiction writing community.

Card is a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, the founder of the Mormon religion and is a devout follower of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has published two books on creative writing, hosts writing workshops, and serves as a judge in the Writers of the Future contest that is held annually. Card has also produced an array of political and social commentary in his columns. His views on homosexuality and his opposition to same-sex marriage, have drawn considerable controversy.

Card and his wife Kristine have had five children, one of which had cerebral palsy and died in his teens and another who died on the day of her birth. Currently, he and his wife live with their youngest child, Zina, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ender’s Game begins in the near future, the human race is split into three ruling parties, the Hegemon, Polemarch and Strategos. They have formed an alliance and an International Fleet (IF) designed to protect the Earth from an alien race known as the “buggers”. There has been two previous wars with this alien race and they are expected to return. In preparation, IF has created a Battle School, a place where young people with the best tactical minds will be trained to fight and defend the Earth.

One of these children is Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. He is often teased about being a “third” child under Earth’s two-child policy. Ender believes that he has lost his chance at entering Battle School when the IF removes his monitoring device. He ends up fighting a fellow student, Stilson, and while Ender is the weaker of the two, he inflicts a serious wound on his opponent, although Ender doesn’t realize that it is fatal at the time. When asked by Colonel Hyrum Graff about his actions, Ender explains that by showing superiority now, he has prevented a future struggle with the student. Graff offers Ender a place in the Battle School, up in Earth’s orbit, where Ender is isolated from the other cadets. Graff encourages him to continue to train.

Ender’s tactics in fighting grow more powerful, he is known to sacrifice other squad members to achieve victory. Graff promotes Ender to a new army composed of the newest and youngest cadets. Ender leads them to the top of the Battle School charts. His cadets are known as the “Jeesh”.

At the age of ten, Ender is promoted to Command School on an asteroid in space. He is taken under the wing of a former war hero, Mazer Rackham. Mazer sets up virtual IF fleets under the boy’s control against Bugger fleets controlled by himself. Ender adapts to the game, but becomes depressed by his isolation in the simulations and by the treatment he receives from Mazer.

One day, Mazer informs Ender that he is to take the final test of his simulation training. Ender finds his human fleet well outnumbered by the alien Buggers in the new game. Although it is against the rules, Ender launches a Molecular Disruption Device at the Bugger planet during the simulation. The device destroys both the planet and the entire Bugger fleet. At the end of the simulation, Ender is surprised to find all the IF commanders celebrating. Only then does Mazer inform Ender that his final test had not been a simulation after all, but that he had been controlling the actual fleet. Ender has won the war for humankind.

Since the war is over, most of Ender’s cadet friends return to earth. The boy remains on the asteroid where he is joined by his sister Valentine. His sister explains that should he return to Earth, his battle skills would be used by the various factions of the Earth governments.

Ender decides to join a colony program to populate a Bugger colony world instead of returning to Earth. Once there, he discovered the dormant egg of a Bugger queen. Via telepathy, the young queen explains that the insectiod Buggers had mistaken the human race as being non-sentient because they did not have a collective consciousness, individuality was too alien an idea for them to comprehend at first. The Bugger Queen requests that Ender take the egg to a new planet for her people to colonize.

I had read many of Mr. Card’s novels before I read Ender’s Game. I enjoyed Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide before I gave the shorter novel a try. I once heard the author say that he wrote Ender’s Game so that he could visual the backstory of Speaker for the Dead more clearly. He was very surprised when the novella took off and became one of his more popular works. The book has been on and off the bestseller’s lists for many years. In 2013, Ender’s Game became a major motion picture starring Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, and Asa Butterfield.

One of the reasons I enjoy this author’s work is that he develops his characters so that they leap off the page as real people. While there is decent science behind the ideas of his books, it is tempered by philosophical ideas that elevate his work. The people and places of his books haunt you years later. Some of his novels have Mormon or biblical themes. I found that I did not care for them as much due to their religious content, but the same good writing style can be found inside them. Card’s newest novels are written with ghostwriter, Aaron Johnston. They are a new off-shoot of the Ender Series entitled The Formic Wars.

I highly recommend Card’s novels about writing. His book Elements of Fiction Writing – Characters & Viewpoint is a must have for any writer. His other writing book, How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, could apply to any genre, although the first section does explain Science Fiction and Fantasy well and how to tell the difference between the two genres. The books are not workbooks, but rather they explain the tone and feelings of what goes into the craft.

Ender's Game Book CoverEnder’s Game – 1985 – Hugo winner, Locus SF Award nominee, Nebula winner
Speaker for the Dead – 1986 – Hugo and Locus SF Award winner, Campbell nominee, Nebula Award winner
Xenocide – 1991 – Hugo and Locus SF Awards nominee
Children of the Mind – 1996
A War of Gifts – 2007
Ender in Exile – 2008

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome to another Monday of No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links! I have a few interesting articles about notebooks, pens and Nanowrimo. I hope you enjoy the reads!

Brave New World (What I’ve Learned About Cover Designs for Digital Publishing

Genres and Sub-Genres

How Writing Utensils Work

100+ Year Old Journals

My First NaNoWriMo

25 Things You Need To Know About Writing Mysteries

Who vs. Whom

Digital manuscript revision… still waiting for Mr Goodpen

What makes an indie book sell?

Twitter Hashtags for Freelance Writers

Author Interview: Tom Kirkbride

At various science fiction conventions where I book tables, I’ve come across Tom Kirkbride and his excellent book displays. After chatting with him about writing during the conventions for the past few years, it seemed natural to ask him to come over for an interview here on No Wasted Ink. If you frequent the convention circuit, I hope you’ll stop by his booth or table and introduce yourself.

Author Tom KirkbrideMy name is Tom Kirkbride. I’m the author of the young adult sci-fi adventure, the Gamadin Book Series. I was born and raised in Southern California. My father was a 30-year Marine Corps Bronze metal soldier of three wars, my mother a devoted military wife. My passion has always been the sci-fi, astronomy, surfing, traveling, skiing and the sense of adventure. I have a daughter, Lara, who I’m extremely proud of. Recently, I began a new adventure with my wife Nancy among the tall trees of Oregon.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started late as a writer, in my late twenties. I was living in Park City, Utah at the time. The stars were so bright and close, and I had run out of good sci-fi novels to read. I said to myself, I can do this. And so it began.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Actually, I’ve never really considered myself as a “writer”. I like “storyteller” better because writers sometimes don’t make good novels. I wanted my novels to be special character driven, high adventure novels so I set out to be a good storyteller and let others help me write.

Can you share a little about your book with us?

Sure. But it’s not just “a” book, it’s a sci-fi adventure series about teenage surfers who find an incredibly power spaceship in the deserts of Utah. Through much sacrifice, courage, and hard fought discipline they become elite Gamadin soldiers fighting for the freedom of others throughout the galaxy.

What inspired you to write this book?

So many things on so many levels. Mainly, I guess, was the lack of good stories out there to read. I wanted to get back to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells type novels where there is actually a plot and good characters to root for. And like those two authors, they had basic “the betterment of mankind” themes in their novels. My novels deal with “Freedom” for mankind. Something I feel is slipping away from our country day by day.

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

The main title of the book series, Gamadin, evolved from on old 1939 buddy movie called Gunga Din about three British soldiers in India. I loved that film and the way the three friends stood side by side in the face of certain death. That’s how I see my heroes, for better or worse, pards to the bitter end. Gamadin!

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

Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are at the top of my list. Add to that Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe. More modern authors who have had great influence on me are JRR Tolkien, Wilbur Smith, James Clavell, Michael Crichton, and of course, JK Rowling.

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

JK Rowling. I credit her with having shown me the way in turning my 900 page original novel into a readable, multi-book high adventure series.

Who designed the cover of your book?

I did. After about two dozen drawings from my publisher that were horrible, by daughter said to me: “Dad do it yourself.” So I did. From all the positive comments I’ve received, she was right.

Audio theater is experiencing a revival due to podcasting. Why did you decide to adapt the first novel of your series into an audio drama production?

I’ve always envisioned the series becoming a movie someday. This was as close to a movie production of my first book Gamadin: Word of Honor as I could make. And let me tell you, the folks at Audio Comics, who made the production, hit the ball out of the park. Just find a comfortable chair, turn out the lights and you’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel like you’re actually watching the movie in 3D.

Could you explain the steps involved in creating an audio drama and some of the people that worked with you to create your project.

The heavy lifting is all done by an audio theatrical company called Audio Comics who bring professional, full-cast “audio movies” inspired by stories from comic books, graphic novels and genre fiction to life. It’s where Book II, Gamadin: Mons and the rest of my novels in the Gamadin Series will be produced.

What outlets are available to distribute your completed audio drama book?

Audible.com, Amazon, B&N, the Gamadin website, practically everywhere audio books are sold, you’ll be able to purchase the audio version of Book I, Gamadin: Word of Honor.

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

Yes. Thank you for your continued support. Book V, Core is coming along slowly, but it will be out, hopefully in the not too distant future. In the meantime, the audio theatrical version is nearly complete and will be released within weeks. I’ll be posting a short teaser soon at the Gamadin website and Facebook pages. Within the first 30 seconds, you’ll discover why I’m so excited about this new dimension the Gamadin Series has taken. It’s great!

Gamadin - Word of Honor Book CoverTom Kirkbride
Cottage Grove, Oregon


Cover artist: Tom Kirkbride