Tag Archives: fantasy

Author Interview: Jeanette O’Hagen

Author JeanetteO’Hagen’s tales of Nardva span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic, others include space stations and cyborgs. She has published over forty stories and poems. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, my name is Jeanette O’Hagan, Born in Australia, I spent part of my childhood in Africa. Over the years I worked as a doctor and lectured in theology, ethics and history, and am now a writer. I live in Brisbane with my husband, two children (15 & 21) and two cats. I love traveling, painting, reading, learning and catching up with friends and family.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began telling myself stories about characters in an imaginary world at the age of eight. I made maps, drawings, genealogies, alphabets etc but didn’t consider writing down the stories until a family friend challenged me to do so when I was fourteen.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my late teens to early twenties, when I wrote my first novel and a few short stories, but life took on a different turn and it wasn’t until about eight years ago that I dusted off my old novel, enrolled in a Masters of Arts (writing) and started writing again, that I took it seriously.

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

I (just) released Rasel’s Song (26 April 2021),the second book in the Akrad’s Legacy series and I’ve wasted no time in pulling out the drafts on the next book, Lumi’s Allegiance (due for release later in 2021).

What inspired you to write this book?

Rasel’s Song continues the narrative arc in Akrad’s Children, in the Akrad’s Legacy series (though each norel has its own arc). I was inspired to write the series as a prequel to my original unpublished novel, Adelphi (now Finding Elene), to tell the backstory of the previous generation behind that novel, in particular Mannok, Rasel, Ista and Dinnis.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is immersive, descriptive, a mixture of action, character and world-building with a strong sense of place.. Some have called it lyrical.

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

Rasel is a shapeshifter and an intruder on Tamrin society. Her people are semi-nomadic, following the ‘songlines’ in the country. For them, a person or creature’s nature and characters as an expression of a song. While she does sing, Rasel’s Song is also a reference to her character, motivation and story.

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

For me, the story comes first and I rarely start with a theme or message. However, themes do emerge as I write. Akrad’s Children had a strong focus on betrayal, forgiveness and revenge. In Rasel’s Song themes of love, duty and the nature of freedom.

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


Though I do draw on my own experiences and that of others as I write, I haven’t based the story on actual people or actual events.

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


So many great authors. Early influences were C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien – though other authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, Ann McCaffrey, Julian May, Peter Beagle have given me a strong love for fantasy and science-fiction. They inspire because of the richness of their imaginative worlds, their understanding of character, their ability to find a thread of hope even in the darkest times, and their willingness to persist with their writing.

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

So hard to choose one. The writers I’ve just mentioned have shaped my own writing. Other writers in writing groups and critique groups, as well as my editors, have also been invaluable in challenging and encouraging me as a writer.

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

I must confess, I designed the cover of Rasel’s Song and, in fact, all but one of my books. While I have no formal artistic training, I love drawing and painting for as long as I can remember and it’s just something I wanted to do for my own books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up, keep learning and always be prepared to take on constructive feedback.

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

Enjoy. Enjoy the world, the characters, the story. And, if you loved the book, review the book and recommend it to others you think will enjoy it.


Jeanette O’Hagan
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Author Interview: Sybrina Durant

Author Sybrina Durant is an author because she writes. She feels compelled to do so. She is also an entrepreneur because Indy publishing required it. I think she is a quick learner! Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

I am Sybrina Durant – unicorn author and entrepreneur. I also have a full time job at an engineering company where I describe my primary role as “bringing order to chaos”. That’s what document controllers do through gathering, organizing and cataloguing information.

Doing that for thirty plus years helped me understand the concept of doing the same things in my book related activities, whether it is researching, outlining my stories, or setting up my unicorn book and gift store. Yes, that’s right. . . one of the ways I promote my book, Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale, is by promoting every unicorn book by every other author that I could find on the internet. Considering all of the age categories, that’s well over one thousand books featuring unicorns!

When and why did you begin writing?

I started trying to write science fiction and fantasy after I had read a couple of hundred science fiction and fantasy books – several of them novels featuring unicorns. By the time I was in my early 30’s, the works of those other authors had so inspired me that I was sure I could come up with a tale of my own. I was particularly fascinated with the idea of unicorns with magical powers but I wanted mine to be different from all the others I’d read about. I decided mine would be metal-horned unicorns with magical powers based on the science of their particular metals. I got to work researching metals and finally came up with a group of unicorns whose hides and manes were derivatives of the colors the metals produced under different conditions such as heat. Nearly all of them were named for the name of their metal in other languages. Their magical powers were inspired by their names or properties of their metals.

A couple of examples are Style, the steel-horned unicorn, who is the tribe’s magical “mane-do” stylist; and Tinam, the tin-horned unicorn, who can magically preserve food in tins of different shapes and sizes. In those two examples, Style is an Old English word for steel and Tinam is a Germanic word for tin.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer when I didn’t even really know what being a writer meant. I was pretty naïve in the beginning of my writing days. Now, even after writing several books and receiving lots of positive reviews, I’m still never completely happy with what I’ve written.

Luckily, beta readers and editors have saved the day for me many times. I recommend every potential author out there to utilize their services if serious about the idea of selling books to the public. Otherwise, be prepared for some cruel criticism.

Back to your question, I’m not sure I’ll ever really consider myself successful as an author. There are so many amazing writers in the world who will never achieve financial success or worldwide recognition. That is a shame because a there are so many great stories being told. The struggle to get eyes on your book is intense as there are literally over five thousand books published and offered to the public for sale each and every day in the United States alone. If you write it, you have to be willing to market it, too. With all of the competition, most of us will have to learn to be content to work within our own little sphere of influence. That sphere will only have any hope of continuing to expand outward by your overwhelming commitment to marketing.

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

Journey To Osm – The Blue Unicorn’s Tale is the full length novel version of The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm, a middle grade picture book. In that one, each two page chapter is followed by a glorious double-spread illustration by Dasguptarts. That “chapter book” contains over 160 pages total. I was never happy with the text constraints of that version of the book so I expanded it to an 85,000 word clean-read YA novel.

The Blue Unicorn is one of twelve remaining members of the Tribe of the Metal Horn. It took a couple of centuries for Magh, the evil sorcerer of MarBryn, to slaughter hundreds of stranded space-faring unicorns who were visiting MarBryn. Why did Magh do it? To steal the unicorn’s magic, of course. Why didn’t the unicorns just travel away from the evil sorcerer? Well, you’ll find the answer to that question in the book. Of the remaining twelve unicorns, only Blue was born with no metal and no magic. Strangely, it was prophesied that he would become the saviour of the tribe. With little to no hope left, it will be up to the plain blue unicorn to figure out how to fulfill the prophecy that promises he will take the metal-horned unicorns back to the safety of their home planet, Unimaise.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, it is somewhat lyrical and a little whimsical with some silly comedic moments plus quite a bit of action, adventure and drama. I use a lot of word play. . .turning ordinary words into flights of fancy. My unicorns think and act like people. Readers, who are grounded in reality, will have to seriously suspend some of their beliefs when they learn of some of the things they are capable of.

How did you come up with the title of this book? I was always enamored with the Wizard of Oz. I wanted the word Osm to evoke flashes of fond memories in potential readers. On a side note, the word, Osm, is taken from a metal that many don’t know about called Osmium. That shiny, bluish-white metal is the densest metal in the world – twice as dense as lead. It is also one of the rarest metals. It’s not the most expensive but as of today it is valued at $1,645.00 for 1 troy ounce. That’s right up there next to the price of gold!

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

First, that you can’t always just a book by its cover. And last, don’t let anything stop you from trying to achieve your goals. Keep consistently at it. You will find yourself learning and calling up new strengths every day. Never give up.

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

Piers Anthony’s writings most influenced my desire to try to write a book. He wrote about magical unicorns and he is known as a master of “punmanship”. I absolutely loved the way he took ordinary words and terms and flipped them into something completely different and unique. Here’s one – Ladies: Are you looking for a new pair of shoes? Just pluck one from a Ladyslipper tree. His books contain thousands of examples of this type of word play. All the normal people in his novels were known as the Mundanes. Hmmm…I wonder if that’s where JK Rowling came up with the idea of calling magicless people Muggles? She has publicly admitted to being influenced by lots of authors but he is not one that I could confirm. By the way, I call all of the actual people in my novel (those with magic and those without) Two-leggers. But I never call them people.

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

I hope you enjoy reading about the metal-horned unicorns from Unimaise. It took me thirty years to come up with a story that I wanted to actually share with others.

Sybrina Durant
League City, Texas

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Author Interview: Lee Garratt

I originally know Author Lee Garratt from speculative poetry, but he is also a novelist! When I asked him how he might describe himself as an author, he replied: “Regularly entertains delusions of grandeur.” Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hi there. My name is Lee Garratt. I am 49 years old and, after rather a varied career history, I am currently teaching High School English in the English Midlands. I have a 10 year old son, Alfred.

When and why did you begin writing?

As a serious thing after a marriage break up 7 years ago. I suddenly had more time to myself and I thought it was either now or never. Writing was always something I was going to do – it was time to either get busy or to drop that dream.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s an interesting question. It is something of a sliding scale isn’t it? When I first started writing I went to a local poetry club. There, the first thing I wanted to do was to write poems that would stand up against the others and get good feedback. Once I had achieved that, I set myself a goal of getting one of my poems or stories published. And when that happened, when I finally saw my name in print, it was, as every writer knows, a very exciting moment! Since then, I have been lucky enough to have more things published and even, more recently, whole books of my own.

Whether I consider myself a writer though, or ‘just’ a teacher who writes in the evenings is a moot point. I think, until I could quit the day job, I would feel a little bit of a fraud giving myself such a grand title! To be a writer, to actually be one, is really quite something.

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

Certainly. It is, I would say, a YA fantasy novella It is set in a land (a future Earth?) where society has, to a large extent, broken down. Culture only barely clings on in an almost mythical faraway place, SeaCity. The protagonist, Alfred, grows up in a dysfunctional, barely alive, settlement stranded in a dystopian waste. Events conspire to send Alfred on a dangerous journey to Seacity.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think the genesis of it was just the image of a place; a barren wasteland where people barely cling on after some unspecified cataclysmic event. The place itself captured my imagination and I started from there.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Ooh. That’s interesting. I think my ‘natural’ writing style is a kind of rational exposition similar to, in my mind at least, John Wyndham. I think it probably seems a little ‘old fashioned’ to some these days.

I play around with different voices though. I recently wrote a story in a more fevered Irvine Welsh kind of manner (or that was my intention). I’ve tried imitating a Stanislaw Lem voice (very difficult). It is fun to play around with these things.

The settling on a ‘style’ is an interesting thing actually. You read the vast majority of authors and they certainly do this. It’s surprising actually, how many of them settle on a single ‘voice’. Perhaps that is a good thing – perhaps most of us have one true authorial voice that, if we are lucky enough to discover, would be best advised to stick to. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder whether, given the sheer infinite amount of forms a story can take, many authors aren’t just settling for safety?

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

It took a little while to get there actually. Indeed, I had another title in mind, ‘Dirt’, until very late in the day. When myself and the publisher decided on the cover image it was only then that I decided on ‘Remains’.
I like the process on deciding on a title – when you hit on the right one it just fits somehow.

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

Hmm. I think I am a little obsessed with the randomness of life. And how often things, actually, aren’t ‘meant to be’. So, if there is a message, it is perhaps something of how the world is a big place that couldn’t care less about you as an individual – even if you do happen to be a fictional character in a book!

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

I’ve not thought about that, Directly no. But the protagonist is called after my son so there might be something there.

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

Great question. I was something of a ‘bum’ in my 20s and 30s. So, for me, Jack London, Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, Hemingway (and Tolkien too with his hobbits setting forth on journeys from the shire) have a lot to answer for!

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

As in all time, alive or dead?
I think I would probably choose Ursula K Le Guin. As well as being a truly wonderful writer of genius she always strikes me as a woman of wisdom and kindness. I love Hemingway but I’m not sure how good a mentor he would be. I imagine we might fall out after a big boozy night!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The first thing you write, try and make it incredibly, undeniably brilliant. You will then, in one fell swoop, have got yourself a publisher, an agent and lots of money, so can spend the rest of your life writing rather than having to bother yourself with all the boring stuff the rest of us have to.


Lee Garratt
Belper, Derbyshire, UK

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Publisher: Dimensionfold Publishing

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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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Cover Artist: Stephen Moore
Publisher: Primal Publishing

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