Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Interview: Debbie Manber Kupfer

Fantasy writer and puzzle maker, Debbie Manber Kupfer believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can do anything. I’m pleased to welcome her here on No Wasted Ink.

author-debbie-manber-kupferHi there, thanks so much for having me. I’m Debbie Manber Kupfer and I’m a writer, puzzle maker, mom, cat lover, and tea drinker! I grew up in London, spent time in Israel, New York, and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, MO, where I live with my husband, two kids and a very opinionated feline called Miri Billie Joe.

I divide my time between writing fiction and writing puzzles for magazines and my blog, Paws 4 Puzzles. I get through my day by drinking about a gallon of hot tea with milk and rewarding myself with the occasional piece of dark chocolate.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve pretty much always written. I remember as a kid I would fill notebooks with stories and once even sent one to the Puffin Post. It was about turning into a ladybug and the problems that created. (See even back then I wrote about shapeshifters!). I got a mention in the magazine and was so thrilled and knew I wanted to be a writer.

But life took over and over the years that followed though I started many books I never finished anything. Then in 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through surgery, chemo and radiation and today thankfully I’m cancer free, but my brush with mortality made me realize that if I really wanted to write a book I needed to do it. So during November of 2012, I started writing P.A.W.S. Five years later I have two novels and a number of published short stories and am about to release book 3 of my series this March.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Not until my first book was published in 2013. It became real the day I held the paperback of P.A.W.S. in my hands.

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

P.A.W.S. is the story of a young girl, Miri, who receives a silver cat charm from her grandmother, Celia, on the night before Celia dies. Little does she know but the charm contains a secret, a powerful magic that saved Celia from the Nazis and is about to make Miri’s life a whole lot more interesting.

What inspired you to write this book?

Back in October 2012, I woke up one morning with an idea. I clearly saw a young girl being passed a cat charm and knew it was important. I started talking to my daughter about the story that was growing inside me and she encouraged me to write it.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m mostly a discovery writer (or pantser if you will). I have a basic idea where my series is going, but only a rough idea how we will get there, and I truly enjoy the ride along the way.

How did you come up with the title of this book?
P.A.W.S. is an acronym for the magical society in which Miri finds herself. It stands for the Partnership of Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters.

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

There are many messages in this story. I, like Miri, was bullied as a child, so her story resonates with me. I believe there’s a lot more to most people than you see on the surface and my stories are all about scratching beneath that surface.

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

Yes, even though I write fantasy many of the characters and situations in my books are based on people that have had an important part in my life. For example the kangaroo animagus exchange student at P.A.W.S., Joey Marks is based off my son Joey who shares a lot of his traits. Smart, enthusiastic, bouncy – with a love for games and puzzles.

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

JK Rowling, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. These four are my writing gods. I can revisit their books over and over again and always find something new. It’s all in the little details and in the humor.

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

I have one. My personal friend and critique partner, Larry Miller. Larry writes a completely different genre to me (literary fiction), but we’ve been critiquing each other’s work for so long now that we wholly get and trust each other’s judgement. Finding someone like this if you’re a writer is gold. Hold on to them.

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

The superbly awesome Rachel Bostwick. She also creates my book trailers. Find her on Fiverr. She’s wonderful to work with and very reasonable.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you haven’t yet, try NaNoWriMo. It really helps me get my first drafts done and the support of other writers in my local chapter and online is phenomenal.

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

Please write to me! I love hearing from fans and try to reply to every single note.

book-cover-pawsDebbie Manber Kupfer
St. Louis, MO

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Author Interview: Rebekah Dodson

A word weaver, a crafter of worlds, and a deviser of plots, are terms that can describe Author Rebekah Dodson, but she prefers the title of writer. Why? Writers craft the symbols of the alphabet into a communication of beauty and ideas.  Please welcome Rebekah to No Wasted Ink.

author-rebekah-dodsonHello, my name is Rebekah Dodson, and I hail from the very Southern tip of Oregon, in the wild, wild west. I moved to a small town here because I needed out of the big city. I love living in Oregon, especially out where everyone knows my name. My husband of 16 years is a disabled veteran and stay at home dad to two teenagers, who often require more work than toddlers. I have three dogs: a German Shepherd named Max, a heeler named Coulson, and a Chihuahua named Princess. She’s kinda the boss of the whole troop and gets her brothers into trouble all the time. I am a professor at a local college, teaching writing, English, and college survival strategies. In my spare time, I play the piano, read fantasy novels, play Dungeons and Dragons, and of course, write!

When and why did you begin writing?

I originally started writing when I was 12. I was homeschooled and my co-op teacher gave me the option of writing a short story instead of an essay for a history assignment. She told me to write 5,000 words and I did it in a day! My short story, a romance based in the Civil War time period. Lilly Love and Billy Dove, was eventually published with the 4H Clubs of America and went on to win several awards. I put that aside for a long time to pursue my college education in psychology. My true writing career, however, didn’t happen until 2014. I met a man in college who was also a “secret writer” and we started swapping fantasy stories. He really inspired me to keep weaving stories and telling tall tales. It’s been 8 years since we meet, and we are now both teachers and writers.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The first day I considered myself a writer was when I published my novel series, Postcards from Paris, with Deckard Publishing, on March 3rd, 2014. A friend in my graduate program encouraged me to keep writing no matter what and raved over my work. He designed my covers, edited, and published me. But more importantly, he never stopped encouraging me to share my work with the world. When I saw my first book go live, that was the day I knew I could do this forever.

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

Although most of my novels are romance, I’ve finally released a sci-fi fantasy novel, Mirrors: The Curse of Lanval Book 1. This time-travel story is reach in medieval scenery, and features a main character who is a snarky, witty paramedic and college student. He’s full of himself and thinks he’s God’s gift to women – until he meets his match in a medieval queen.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always been obsessed with history since a young age. I started this story about a year ago, when I began to wonder what would happen if a college student – with their often lofty, preconceived notions about how the world works – would fare in the past. Most of the inspiration came from observing my students. The story truly came to life when I met my teaching assistant in Sept 2016, a paramedic and college student himself. He started feeding me ideas and specific medical information. In frenzy, the story was finished and polished in about three months.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My specific writing style involves scenery and dialogue. In grad school, Hemingway’s abstract dialogue inspired me to craft characters that share witty conversations that tend to “dance” around issues. Like the hidden agenda in “Hills like White Elephants” my dialogue usually doesn’t address issues specifically, but plays more of a word game. I’m also very into describing weather, scenes, rooms, and buildings. I want to immerse my readers in locale as much as possible.

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

My main characters, Gill and his sister Jules, touch a magic mirror they find in a chapel in France, when they travel there for their dear Uncle’s funeral. Much more than an artifact, it’s a running theme throughout the series: Gill looks in the mirror often, because of his prideful nature. A spell caster in the series uses Mirror Image to confuse their foes. Finally, Gill realizes that the mirror is turned on him, when he sees himself for who he truly is.

The series is also called The Curse of Lanval, based on the medieval author, Marie de France, who wrote a lais (poem) in the 12th century called Lanval. This story is about a knight that King Arthur forgot, and even though he seems cursed and bad things happen to him, he is eventually rewarded for being honest, true, and devoted. For this reason I gave Gill the surname of Lanval, because he’s a lot like this knight: not what he seems, but good of heart in the end.

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

Absolutely! Don’t ever judge a person by how they act. They might seem arrogant and foolish, but underneath they are usually insecure and frightened to show the world their weaknesses. All the characters in this series are a bit two-faced at times, but they don’t mean to. In the real world, we all have our public face and the one we show those close to us. Just because you see someone’s public face in the mirror, doesn’t mean that’s who they really are.

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

Some of Gill’s college experiences are based on mine, and observations from where I teach. For example, when Gill trips in the hallway and meets a girl he’s attracted to, this actually happened to me in college. I married the man 18 months later.

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

The main author to inspire me is the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. I read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series from a young age, and I always wanted to create a world like he did. I’m still working on it, but I do enjoy the adventures that he painted that will stick with me for a lifetime. I also enjoy Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. The dynamics of adventure, fantasy, and romance between Richard and Khalan kept me reading the entire series on the edge of my seat. I love his writing style!

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

Not really a mentor, but my writer friend (mentioned above from college days) is who I refer to as my muse. It doesn’t matter if I need help with romance or fantasy or even horror, I can call him and say “Help me!” and he will always answer. His answer is usually, “Did you add dragons?” He is the greatest assistant to my work and I wouldn’t be here today without him.

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

C.L. Cannon at Fiction Atlas Author Services designed my cover. I actually selected her in the beginning because she had affordable services. She also edited Mirrors as well and is working on a book trailer for the series. I was so impressed with her enthusiasm to find what Gill really looked like, and she was great at seeing my vision. She also captured Marie, the character in book 2, perfectly. I’ve hired her permanently for the rest of the books in the series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Everyone always says keep writing, but really, the key is to keep publishing. Go with a publishing house or self-publish, but don’t wait around! Get it out there! Even if you have to design your own cover and edit yourself, because you can’t afford either. DO NOT WAIT. I waited 2 years for my publisher to put out more of my books, thinking I couldn’t do it by myself, and in the meantime I wrote 25 novels (yes, you read that right!). I started self-publishing in October of 2016 and currently have 10 on the market and a huge fan base. Don’t ever wait around to take control of your destiny. Do it NOW.

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

Whether it’s my book or someone else’s, please value your indie/self-publish community by reading our books and leaving reviews. We work hard to give you best novel we can, and a little bit of our heart and soul is poured into each book. Show the love back whenever you can and pay it forward.

book-cover-mirrorsRebekah Dodson
Oregon

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Author Interview: Joshua Grasso

Joshua Grasso is a professor of English at East Central University and the author of three books on Amazon: The Winged Turban, The Astrologer’s Portrait, and The Count of the Living Death. He is also a fellow member of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Network.  Please welcome him here on No Wasted Ink.

author-joshua-grassoHello—my name is Joshua Grasso, and I’m currently an Associate Professor of English at East Central University, a small university in Oklahoma. My day job consists of teaching all those wonderful classes that are the genesis of every science fiction and fantasy book out there—British Literature, World Literature, Shakespeare, Gothic Literature, and every once in a while, a class on Superheroes as Lit. As a teacher, I try to do the same thing I do in my books: introduce students to a new, exciting world that has (seemingly) always existed, and invite them to start exploring themselves, using language, art, and logic as their guide. I think some of the greatest adventures in history actually started in the classroom, by a writer, or an explorer, or simply a dreamer who caught wind of something unique from a lecture, or a discussion, or a reading assignment. That’s where my journey began, anyway—as a first-year college student in a drafty classroom.

When and why did you begin writing?

As an English major in college, I was inspired by all the works I read, particularly the works set in ancient worlds and languages: Homer, Shakespeare, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, etc. These works seemed vitally alive to me, yet also quite incomplete; there were ‘holes’ and gaps in the narratives that seemed to invite a future writer to fill in. They provided the perfect introduction to my own world and ideas.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In 1995, I entered a one-act play writing contest at my college and surprisingly won (I had never won anything writing-wise, and I haven’t won much since!). The grand prize was a full production of my little play, but as luck would have it, this occurred just weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing (April 1995). Since we were in Oklahoma, that became the focus of everyone’s life and the production became largely forgotten—and was finally just half-performed for one evening. Still, it was a starting point, though I quickly realized my talent did not lie in writing plays (I typically just stuck my characters in a room and set them arguing at each other; I learned that you should probably change scenes once in a while).

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

My most recent book, The Winged Turban (2015), is a fantasy novel with a slight Gothic influence set in a Europe-that-never-was. A young woman is married into a strange family and packed away into an ancient estate, where she uncovers a strange old portrait that was never there before, and at least one person is fairly certain is a portrait of her (though it’s well over 200 years old).
What inspired you to write this book?

The cover of the book features a famous 15th century painting by Rogier Van der Weyden, The Woman with a Winged Turban. This is a painting I often use in my classes when teaching the late medieval period, and I’ve always been captivated by it: the painting and the woman. One day, while teaching, I began having a conversation with myself, wondering who she really was, and how I could build a story around it. Those rough ideas slowly blossomed into a full-fledged novel about a year later. The painting—slightly changed—is actually described in the book, so if you know it (or have memorized the cover) you’ll realize immediately what I’m talking about.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think so, but that’s a dangerous thing to try to nail down. I used to be very verbose, flowery, and full of asides. I’ve tried to cut that down, but even today, I like sentences that flow from specific word use and sentence structures. I love long sentences, too, and I’m not afraid of using semicolons, colons, ellipses, or parenthesis (even though an agent once warned me that writers stopped using them ages ago!). I don’t like writing that is too obvious or clipped. I think writing should be like a ball of yarn: the more you read, the more tangled up you get in the narrative, and just when you think you’ve gotten loose—ah, another tangle! The writing should be clear and readable, but not easy or obvious. It should make you read, re-read, and think a little. That’s what I hope my style does—makes you re-read, not out of confusion (well, once or twice) but for the sheer enjoyment of a sentence or idea.

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

Ha, this one was easy: I just stole it from the title of the painting. I loved the phrase “winged turban.” It’s just a style of medieval fashion, but it sounds so mysterious, and most people have no ideas what a winged turban is, anyway. You have to read to find out. And then you’re like, “oh, it’s just her headgear.”

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

Messages are tricky: a good novel has more than one, and none of them are just bobbing on the surface. Though I would hate to spell any of them out (and there are probably some I’m not even aware of), I did want to stress the idea that the “villain” is rarely a true villain in the sense that we find in movies and old novels. A villain is often just the person who has different goals and desires than you, and is more driven in achieving them. The ‘villain’ in this book is not very evil at all, just desperate to do what she thinks is the ultimate right thing, even if some sacrifices need to be made. And most of the ‘heroes’ agree with her…up to a point.

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

No, this is all from my own imagination, books I’ve read, and themes I enjoy reading about. That’s the beauty of writing for me: nothing is autobiographical (other than the ideas/aesthetics), and I can completely immerse myself in characters, worlds, and journeys that are a complete expansion or negation of my own. I don’t want to see myself anywhere in the book if I can help it!

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

The biggest influences on my writing are typically (with a few exceptions) British, very old, and usually mentioned as “classics”: Austen, Coleridge, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Wilde, Mary Shelley, Voltaire, Tolkein, White, and the extensive works of “Anonymous” (particularly Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, etc). For me, a great story has to be coupled with powerful and beautiful language, and the pre-20th century world seemed more at peace with this. After WWI, beauty in writing seemed somewhat naive or improper, so writers adopted a more clipped, terse style of writing which gets to the point but (often) without flair or beauty. I think writing should be beautiful, so that you can fall in love with a single sentence, and only later understand how that sentence fits into the puzzle of the entire piece. I also like works where the narrator is him/herself a character, and writers like Chaucer, Austen, and Wilde were masters at this. After all, if someone is talking, why make him/her anonymous? Give him/her life and a voice, even if the ultimate identity remains mysterious.

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

Since I’m also a professor, I learned the most from the writers I wrote about and ended up teaching, figures like Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, and Jane Austen. Analyzing their works as a scholar, and then figuring out how to teach them to (largely) bored undergraduates, really makes you appreciate how they work as writers and as books. That has to rub off on you as a writer yourself, and I picked up a lot of Austenisms in my writing, some of which I edited out, but others I kept as a badge of pride. No shame in sounding like one of the greatest masters of prose in the English language!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The only thing I’ve truly learned about writing is to be devoted to it. Don’t do it by halves. By that I mean make writing (not being a writer, or acting like a writer, but actually writing) your entire life. Write every day until it becomes second nature. Read every day without fail. Find the connections between different authors and try out their techniques. Set goals and come as close as you can to accomplishing them. But most of all, write. If you don’t like writing, there’s no reason to become a writer. And if you do, then get to it!

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

Remember that I’m poor and I can’t afford to pay fancy editors to go over my work. It’s just me and some friends and students. So if you find a typo, tell me about it before you post a 1-star review! I promise to fix it! You can’t believe how hard it is to find every single typo or missing word in a 90 thousand-word manuscript even after reading it five or six times in several different mediums. But other than that, I hope you enjoy the book!

book-cover-the-winged-turbanJoshua Grasso
Ada, OK

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Author Interview: H. L. Burke

H. L. Burke is a writer of eclectic fantasy for young adults and children. She is also a semi-professional dragon keeper. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

author-h-l-burkeMy name is Heidi, but I write as H. L. Burke because, while I appreciate that my mom likes classic children’s books about Swiss goatgirls, I really don’t think Heidi is a great name for a fantasy author. Just way too cute. Can’t go wrong with initials, right? I’m a part time writer, full-time mother, and military wife. My two young daughters and my gigantic orange cat argue about whose slave I am, and our German Shepherd never listens to me. I drink a lot of coffee.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’m a talker, and writing is like talking, just a little slower. I wrote short stories even before I could write, dictating to my mom, then illustrating them in crayon.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I took ownership of the title at a really young age. When it was the late 90s and all my friends got hotmail accounts, I had a mailing list of people who I’d send short stories to. I won a few small contests, and my peer group generally thought of me as “the writer.” Then there was a point that I stopped … but I always felt guilty about it, like I was letting down people who I knew in high school because I wasn’t writing any more, so eventually (after about maybe a five year break) I kicked myself in the pants and started again. That was about four years ago.

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

My most recent book has the current title of Coiled. It is a fairy tale retelling based on an obscure French fairy tale called The Green Serpent which is in turn heavily influenced by Cupid and Psyche. It’s about a prince who turns into a giant snake whenever someone looks at him, so he befriends a princess with her own curse that has twisted her appearance to make her grotesque and courts her in darkness … of course, there’s a vengeful god who isn’t too happy about this and a quest that involves Gorgons and even a dragon. The book was recently picked up by Uncommon Universes Press and is due for June 2017 release.

My published book is Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors, a steampunk adventure. It was released in 2016.

What inspired you to write you published book?

The idea writing Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors was to reverse engineer a “puzzle game.” One of my favorite ways to relax is with a good puzzle/adventure game, and a lot of them have a similar premise: the protagonist (played by you) is trapped somewhere and has to navigate their way out while solving a mystery or putting together a story. So I worked backward from that and thought about a reason a person might have to break INTO some place and the sort of challenges they might face. Then I wondered who their companion would be, and what if there were killer robots … I loved coming up with the premise for this book and once the setting and the challenges were decided, I think it was probably the most effortless story I’ve ever written (helps that it’s a novella).

Do you have a specific writing style?

Conversational. I tend to be very to the point. I like each little detail to carry a lot of weight, so while I’m not a minimalist, I do tend towards sparser prose. I like things simple and sincere.

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

My idea for Nyssa has always been that she’s reminiscent of a serial adventure heroine. Sort of a female Indiana Jones but trained as a cat burglar rather than an archaeologist, so having her name be the title was a given. The House of Mirrors refers to the primary antagonist. While Nyssa does face some human baddies, the thing that really has it out for her is the house itself. It has booby traps and killer robot sentries. The “creepy mansion” set the mood for the piece, and I wanted to put that in front of the reader from the get go. 

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

There is one that I cannot discuss without getting into spoilers, but it involves how different people deal with situations out of their control, whether with acceptance or anger. Also, throughout the series, there’s an underlying current of Nyssa trying to redeem herself from past sins and also of finding one’s family in people who are willing to love you in spite of your past.

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

Nyssa is a lot like I imagine my young daughter will be when she grows up, sarcastic and smart but with a soft-center that would like to trust and which feels deeply for other people. The funny thing is I didn’t make the connection until after I’d written her. I think that’s one reason she appeals to me so much.

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

I am a big time fan of J. R. R. Tolkien. He’s the only author I really obsess over, in that I’ve read biographies about him and collect books written about him as well as books written by him … but he’s kind of such a massive figure in fantasy that it’s almost a given. My personal writing style is more influenced by more modern YA Fantasy authors, specifically like Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine or Patricia Wrede, the ones I grew up reading. I love their fresh take on fairy tales.

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

I’m such an impossible student that any writer I chose would probably get really annoyed with me and it would totally ruin our (admittedly hypothetical) relationship. Seriously. Can I just have tea with Neil Gaiman instead? I really would like to have tea with Neil Gaiman.

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

I used my friend Jennifer for Nyssa. However, since I’m going with a publisher for my new book Coiled, they will be providing an in-house cover designer. For my other books, I started working with Jennifer because we’ve known each other since our days on a Tolkien Fan Forum … and we are both mothers of young children trying to balance creative-life with all that motherhood entails, so it was easy to work with her. I probably will continue to use her for my self-published projects.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never ask permission to make art. I see a lot of hesitant new writers wanting to know “am I any good?” (the answer is usually, “probably not yet, but you have to keep trying.”) or “is this idea worth writing?” (impossible to know until it has been written) or other versions of trying to get the approval of others before they begin. Just begin. Then get your work torn apart by a good critique group and start over … rinse and repeat until you rise from the ashes as a Mythical Writer Beast!

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

Hey there! Theodore the Dragon says hi! (they’ll get that)

 

book-cover-nyssa-glassH. L. Burke
Oceanside, CA

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Author Interview: Angela Horst

Fantasy novels are particular favorites of mine to read, which makes introducing a new fantasy author to you a delight for me. Angela Horst is a local author and one that I believe you will like. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

author-angela-horstHello! My name is Angela Horst and I’m a stay-at-home mother to an energetic, sometimes impish five-year-old. I’m an avid reader, gamer, and all-around geek. I worked at Blizzard Entertainment, a gaming company, before quitting to start my life as a mom. My husband worked there as well (he actually gave me the interview for the job!), and after getting to know one another, moving to Austin, and moving back to California, we eventually got married.

I tend to write and read in the fantasy genre. My favorite book of all time is The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle, though I do delve into other genres like Stephen King once in awhile.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing consistently in high school. Having a free period and study times, I found myself with the time to daydream and be creative. I read voraciously, sometimes under my desk during class (which is probably why I’m not the best at math). Reading gave me the motivation to write. It helped me to escape, and the ideas that other authors had would inspire me to make my own stories.

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

The Nightmare Exterminator is a bit of an oddity. I’d call it magical realism, but there is also a pinch of paranormal, fantasy, and a good helping of humor. Noah Clifton has the ability to enter nightmares and rid them from a dreamer’s sleep – for the right price. His sidekick is a surly gnome named Guinness, and together they piece together clues in order to find out about Noah’s life before exterminating nightmares. Before he was even human.
What inspired you to write this book?

Funny enough, it was a dream! I had a vague sense of a man and gnome who defeated nightmares, and I used that skeleton to world-build around them.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For some unknown reason, it’s hard for me not to write as a first-person male. I can sneak in deeper thoughts with first person, and perhaps I write as male because I’m a tomboy? Whatever the reason, it does come with a drawback. It’s hard for me to get out of my comfort zone, though I do try to on some occasions as a challenge.

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

Not one that I thought about while writing. Noah is a jaded smart-alec who isn’t fond of human interaction at the beginning of the book. He is sarcastic and sees only the negative. By the end, this has lifted, and he is able to focus on enjoying life. If there is a message, I suppose it would be: don’t let life pass you by and live it to the fullest.

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

Peter S Beagle has influenced my writing the most. He has my whimsicality and while this is not as prominent in The Nightmare Exterminator, I’ve grown to write in his style of flowery, descriptive writing. He is inspiring in that there are so many ideas and talent in one man. I met him at a book convention when I was young, and I’ve loved his books ever since.

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

If not Mr. Beagle, I would say Brandon Sanderson. This man has a way with world-building that is second to none. I am a terrible world-builder. I’m good with details and scenes, but world-building is not my strong point. Mr. Sanderson can do it in his sleep. His book, Mistborn, has inspired me to be more aware of an over-arcing story and epic storyline when writing my own books.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never stop reading. Reading is the best tool for a writer. Words, worlds, even sentence structure can cause inspiration. Have an idea that’s sparked from another author’s writing? Write it! Of course, make it your own. Add the flourishes that make you you. Tap into that creativity and let your muse do its job.

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

I appreciate any eyes I can get on my novel, and I wanted to thank Wendy Van Camp for allowing me this interview on No Wasted Ink. I wish nothing more than a reader of my novel to realize it’s 2 AM when they look up from their tablet. I want to take you on a journey, to escape the real world if even for a moment to show you my pride and joy. And hey, maybe you’ll dream about Noah and his companions when you fall asleep. Maybe they’ll come along during a nightmare and do what they do best.

Thank you, Angela.  It is always my pleasure to help fellow authors.

the-nightmare-exterminator-book-coverAngela Horst

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