Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Interview: Cay Templeton

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

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

When and why did you begin writing?

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

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

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

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

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

What inspired you to write this book?

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

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

Do you have a specific writing style?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any advice for other writers?

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

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

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

The Conti Rose Book CoverCay Templeton
Los Angeles, CA

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Author Interview: LD Whitney

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

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

When and why did you begin writing?

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

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

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

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

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

What inspired you to write this book?

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

Do you have a specific writing style?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any advice for other writers?

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

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

Go out there and find adventure.

Remnant Book CoverL.D. Whitney
Albuquerque, NM

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Author Interview: S. Faxon

Author S. Faxon is a fantasy author who writes stories full of political intrigue.  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author S. FaxonI’ve been writing since I was eight years old. My first story came out of my third-grade writing assignment and it was called, “Three Cool Cats.” It was about three cats who poisoned their oppressive dog dictator to secure their freedom. I’ve been writing ever since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

As long as I can remember. I finished writing my first novel when I was eleven and I think I was calling myself a writer well before that. Writing is a part of my soul. It’s a compulsion that I almost can’t control. I never stop thinking about my stories and I feel like I have to get them out and onto the page.

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

My current books, The Animal Court, and her sequel, Foreign & Domestic Affairs, are fantasy novels full of political intrigue. The Animal Court is about a country on the verge of collapse and one woman’s fight to save the kingdom she loves. The sequel takes place twenty years later and demonstrates what happens when having ultimate power begins to consume everything you do.

What inspired you to write this book?

I initially started writing the first draft of The Animal Court when I was a senior in high school. I had been addicted to reading the classics, but one story that really influenced The Animal Court was Hamlet. I started writing The Animal Court when I was sitting on the bleachers of my high school not engaging in my P.E. class. I came up with the sequel, Foreign & Domestic while bored out of my mind on a car ride driving down the 5 from northern California to San Diego. Plotted the entire story in my mind on that trip, but it evolved dramatically as I actually wrote it.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told that I have a “classic” writing style. The biggest influencers on my writing are Mary Shelly, Kate Chopin, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, so I tend to emulate their descriptive styles, much to the chagrin of my editors.

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

Many characters within The Animal Court are likened to members within the animal kingdom, in terms of their mannerisms and they’re all in this political game, a court, so it just made sense. The original title was, Feasts and Follies of the Animal Court, which I realized was way too long and sounded like a children’s book. For Foreign & Domestic Affairs, I was in the middle of attaining my Masters in Government and Politics, with a certificate in International Law, so the phrase “foreign and domestic affairs” was used almost daily in my world. The issues that are facing the king and queen in the sequel, are coming from both the foreign and domestic angles and indeed, with temptations abounding affairs is the name of the game.

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

In The Animal Court, the message would be if you see something that’s bothering you, to take a stand for what you believe in no matter the odds that are stacked against you. For Foreign & Domestic Affairs, it’s to never lose sight of what’s truly important in your life. Though in a fantasy setting, Foreign & Domestic Affairs features a couple who are so consumed with their work that they lose sight of their family and their relationship, which leads to all sorts of issues.

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

Not these pieces. I do have other novels that are based on real-life occurrences, but this one was primarily out of the whims of my imagination. There are matters that happened in global history that inspired this book, but not in my personal life.

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

J.K. Rowling and Barbara Kingsolver are some of the most influential writers in my life. J.K. Rowling gave us a story that many people didn’t believe in when she was initially querying, but she didn’t give up and now her books gave us characters that we remember when we are confronted with darkness. If she’d given up, where would we be without Harry Potter? I love Barbara Kingsolver’s books because they confront social justice issues and that’s something I hope to convey in my books, though many of them are in a fantasy setting.

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

Tamara Merrill has become a major mentor in my writing career. She’s helped to open my eyes to many avenues of marketing, which is an enormous component of a writing career that many of us authors struggle with. She’s inspired me in so many ways, including my decision to make book trailers for other authors and to become a social media strategist, so I’m eternally grateful to call her my mentor and friend.

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

I actually designed the covers of my books. I have several years of experience in graphic design and I studied hundreds of covers in my genre, as well as other genres, before designing the covers for The Animal Court and Foreign & Domestic Affairs. With all of the research that I did, designing covers is a service that I am now providing to other authors.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never give up, never stop writing. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you’re not a writer or that you’re not an author. If you have a story in your heart that you want to share, you’re an author. If you don’t think your writing is strong enough, find a writing group that’ll help you to develop your craft. Being a writer is a gift, do whatever it takes to nourish it and to help it grow. Don’t wait until you’re retired to write your book. Make the time and do it.

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

I hope that my stories provide you with similar escapes that they provided me.

Animal CourtS. Faxon

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Author Interview: John Meszaros

Author John Meszaros loves mixing together his interests in natural history, world cultures and mythology to create worlds that feel like they live and thrive on their own, apart from the narrow story of the protagonists. I’m pleased to introduce him here on No Wasted Ink.

Author John MeszarosI’m John Meszaros. I’ve worked in science education all my life, at zoos, aquariums, natural history museums, and currently a planetarium. I love natural sciences, particularly paleontology, astronomy, and marine biology. I collect books, plants, and fossils and am well on my way to transforming my house into a combination library/green house/wizard’s laboratory. I’m a big fan of cryptids and folklore and I currently run a blog about “official” state cryptids. I’m also an illustrator, and I love to weave my art together with my writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

Like many authors, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. But I first really started taking my writing seriously in college when I began submitting sword and sorcery stories to magazines.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Definitely when I started submitting stories. I mean, packaging and mailing all those manuscripts (this was just before email submissions became widespread) and collecting rejection letters really got me into the mindset of being a serious writer. That’s also when I started really analyzing the works I read from other authors to figure out how to improve my own craft.

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

My first novel is a dark fantasy set in a world based on medieval Japan. It’s about a young woman who becomes a fire-controlling demigod against her will, and her efforts to learnt to control her powers. I’ve always loved Japanese mythology and monsters, and incorporated an abundance of ghosts, yokai, magic and other supernatural happenings into my book.

What inspired you to write this book?

For the first part of my writing career I wrote short stories. I really wanted to try my hand at writing a full novel with lots of world-building. I grew up watching a lot of anime, and that sparked an interest in Japanese culture and history. I couldn’t find much fantasy fiction with a Japanese setting (though that’s thankfully changed in recent years), so I decided to write my own.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I actually didn’t discover my writing style until after I wrote this book. I have a very episodic style that comes from my experience writing short stories. My books usually have a single overarching plot driving the character’s long-term goals, but they run through many semi self-contained adventures in the process of getting there. I struggled with this style for a long time, trying to smooth it out and write in the more conventional way that you’re “supposed” to write a novel. But I realized eventually that this was the method that was true to me, regardless of what other authors and editors thought I should do.

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

I didn’t have a name for my book until the last draft. By the end I found that the underworld of Yomi played a huge role in the book. All of the conflict in the story sprang from the machinations of beings hailing from this realm, so “At Yomi’s Gate” was a very fitting reflection of that.

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

At Yomi’s Gate isn’t really a hard moral story, but a major theme of the plot is about the main character, Sakura, dealing with her own fear and anger and learning to turn that rage away from hurting other people and focus it on protecting those she cares about.

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

There are kernels of my personality and life experiences in each of the five main characters. They each have different aspects of my own emotions, creativity and curiosity, around which I’ve hung other personality traits to make them their own individuals. In particular, one of the main characters, Fumito, is a scroll painter and artist, and I share his love for collecting and telling stories.

On a more concrete level, several scenes in the underworld that are visually inspired by the time I visited the Dazu Buddhist rock carving grotto in China.

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

Ursula LeGuin has been my biggest influence. I love her stories about finding balance. Her use of Taoist philosophy has greatly influenced my own work.

I’ve also been heavily influenced by China Mieville’s weird fiction. My own settings, characters and creatures can get bizarre, and seeing how he handles odd settings helped me figure out how to ground my own stuff.

The early 20th century author Harold Lamb has also been a big influence. He wrote tons of pulp adventure fiction based in meticulously-researched historical settings, particularly Central Asia. I’ve tried to put the same level of care and research into my own world-building that he put into his.

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

Again, definitely Ursula LeGuin. Her works taught me a lot about incorporating theme and meaning into a story without turning it into a bland morality fable. Her books taught me about accepting both the bad and good sides of oneself, and that one must learn how to incorporate them together into a whole. That idea directly runs through At Yomi’s Gate, especially in Sakura’s character arc.

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

The cover was illustrated by Matthew Meyer. His style is based on old Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, particularly of monsters called yokai. I love that look and really wanted my cover to look like a print you might find at a vendor’s stall in old Tokyo. Meyer was really the only person I wanted to illustrate my cover, and I’m still glad I went with him.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The most important thing about writing is to find the style that works best for you. There are tons of classes and how-to books that tell you that their way is the “correct” way to write. And sure, if one of those methods resonates with you, then use it. But don’t get stuck thinking that you have to find the one perfect system for writing, because none of them work for everyone. Furthermore, it might take you a while to figure out what method is right for you. I wrote for ten years before I finally found the most productive system for me.

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

My current works-in-progress are combining my passions for art and writing, so hopefully fans of my illustrations will enjoy seeing them mingle with my written words, and vice versa.

At Yomi's Gate Book CoverJohn Meszaros
Connecticut

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Author Interview: Chrys Cymri

I asked Author Chrys Cymri to describe herself and I was told: I live with a small parrot because I can’t afford a dragon.  Fair enough!  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Chrys CymriPriest by day, writer at odd times of the day and night, I live with a small green parrot called Tilly because the upkeep for a dragon is beyond my current budget. Plus I’m responsible for making good any flame damage to church property. I love ‘Doctor Who’, landscape photography, single malt whisky, and my job, in no particular order. When I’m not looking after a small parish church in the Midlands (England) I like to go on far flung adventures to places like Peru, New Zealand, and North Korea.

When and why did you begin writing?

I still have the first short story I wrote when I was around seven years, based on a dream I’d had. The idea that I could capture something in writing fascinated me, and I didn’t stop writing from that moment on. It was just something I did.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve never had a moment when I considered myself a writer. I just wrote. If I don’t write, the characters pound against the inside of my head until I get them out.

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

I’ve just finished the ninth and last book in my contemporary fantasy series. Penny White, the main character, is a full time Church of England priest whose life changes forever when she stumbles across a dying dragon who asks for the last rites. This is her first introduction to the magical world of Daear, which is parallel to our own and can only be entered through ‘thin places’. Along the way, she changes from being a somewhat lonely young widow to falling in love with a dragon and developing a new family around her. Penny loves science fiction, ‘Doctor Who’ in particular, and drinks a little too much single malt whisky.

What inspired you to write this book?

The first scene of the first book, when Penny stops at the side of the road and stumbles over a dying dragon’s tail, came to me in a flash. As the story revealed itself to me, I found myself writing humour as well as about loss and loneliness. I’ve particularly enjoyed the long character arcs which a nine book series has allowed me. Everyone develops over the course of the novels, perhaps most dramatically the main dragon character, Raven. He changes from a James Dean type person to someone who will stand by Penny no matter what happens.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t like writing long descriptions. My focus is on the characters. I also like to make sure that the sound different when they talk, even as real people do, rather than sound all the same.

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

All of the Penny White books are ‘Penny White and…’. So in order, these are ‘The Temptation of Dragons’, ‘The Cult of Unicorns’, ‘The Marriage of Gyphons’, ‘The Vengeance of Snails’, ‘The Vexation of Vampires’, ‘The Nest of Nessies’, ‘The Weariness of Were-Wolves’, ‘The Business of Bees’, and ‘The Humility of Humans’.

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

That diversity is wonderful and to be embraced, not feared. Penny is inclusive (except she doesn’t like unicorns that much) and that’s the outlook of the series. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking through and portraying different cultures for the various magical creatures in the books.

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

Penny’s encounters in her church derive from events that have happened to me or to colleagues of mine. Of course, I’m very careful to have changed things so that no confidences have been betrayed. Some of the characters are based off people I know, like the dragon Bishop Aeron, who was inspired by my own bishop. (He knows this and is quite pleased!)

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

Three authors in particular taught me the wonder of story telling. The first was Susan Cooper, with her children’s fantasy series ‘The Dark is Rising’. I loved the magic and the weaving of British myths and tales into the stories. Second was ‘The Riddle of Stars’ trilogy by Patricia McKillip. Her use of language is extraordinary. Finally, the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ books by James Herriot, with their close attention to human experiences and daily life.

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

Patricia McKillip. My heart rose and sank throughout ‘The Riddle of Stars’ trilogy, and I cried at the end of the third book. I was only fifteen years old, and had no idea that a fantasy tale could affect me in that way.

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

Anna Crosswell from Cover Couture. She was able to take my ideas and do something better with them than I could ever have hoped for. There is a common theme to all nine covers which ties them together as a series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

You have to be willing to write for the writing’s sake alone. Very few of us will be able to make a full time living as an author. But along the way you’ll develop a group of dedicated fans, and their appreciative emails will keep you going.

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

Thank you for the emails I receive about how much you love Penny’s world. And I’m amazed that, time and again, it’s Clyde, the carnivorous, hymn-singing snail, who is your favourite character in the series! I was certain it would be the darkly handsome dragon, Raven.

Temptation of DragonsChrys Cymri
Northampton, England

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