Tag Archives: mermaids

Author Interview: a stump

Authors come from all walks of life and a stump is no exception. While this author may claim to be a mere hobbist, I think he has much more going for him than he might realize, for a stump is a literary author with over thirty short stories published in over fifteen publications. Read on and see if you agree with me. Please welcome a stump to No Wasted Ink.

Hi Wendy! When I think about who I am, I’d like to begin be saying that I’m a man—a pastor, even!—married to a beautiful, supportive wife with four amazing sons. I don’t think of myself as an author, but certainly enjoy the hobby of writing. I love being outdoors, and I love drinking coffee. I’m a slow, but avid, reader. I read about 150 words per minute, which makes me an “auditory reader.” So, being such a slow reader, I have to be very judicious in my reading list.

When and why did you begin writing?

My best friend, N.D. Coley, is a writer. I saw what he was doing and how his stories were getting published, and I thought, “I’d like to try doing that.” I did, and it worked!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

From the get-go, I knew that I was a writer. I had had a lot of English and writing classes in college, so I knew the mechanics of writing. I understand vocabulary and writing quite well, so I know what works. I also have a working knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, and German, and I’m working on Old Norse, Old English, and Anglo-Saxon. That being said, I don’t view myself as an “author.” It’s not the main thing I do, only a hobby. I’m happy, however, that people seem to enjoy my writing.

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

I have one book, The Endless Summer, that I’m advertising now. It’s the right time for it, as kids are getting out of school and teachers are assigning reading lists and such. It’s a bit of a fantastical romp through my own childhood in the 1980’s in upstate New York. Of course, it’s not just nostalgia, but infused with the supernatural. I have a mermaid, a genie, and a vampire in my story, all interacting with a group of ten year-old boys. I think that that’s when the magic happens—between childhood and puberty. There’s a liminal phase there where childhood belief mixes with some sort of adult notion that the world is a really gritty, complex place.

What inspired you to write this book?

It began as a short story called The Storm Drain. It was eventually changed to Keep Off the Grass and published in the online magazine, Jakob’s Horror Box. When I had finished that story, I felt the characters begging me to tell more. I did. I wrote several short stories, and they all became a single piece that turned into The Endless Summer.

Do you have a specific writing style?

If I had to pick a single style, I’d say “Literary.” I really want to write stuff that everyone wants to read. As such, I use a lot of descriptive and grammar structure to make my writing broadly appealing. My Book, The Endless Summer is written for a young adult audience, but will also be appealing to adults. In fact, one reviewer stated that she read the book twice in a row for the beauty of the writing.

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

One of the stories/chapters in this book is called “The Endless Summer.” It’s one of the few stories in the book that hasn’t been published previously. After writing it, I thought that it encapsulates the idea of a childhood summer—never ending. The story takes place over one whole summer, and it seemed a fitting title.

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

Yes! Some people might think that the message is something like “there’s magic everywhere” or “childhood is magical.” In reality, I think that the truth of the book is that “things aren’t always as they seem.” Being disillusioned is one of the hallmarks of the journey from childhood to adulthood. The jading that happens somewhere in adolescence is quite unfortunate. My book captures the twilight magic that happens somewhere between those two bookends.

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

Every story is somehow autobiographical. All the characters are some part of me. It takes place in upstate New York, which is where I spent several years of my childhood. It was formative for me, and a natural backdrop for my stories.

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

Without a doubt, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Ursula K. le Guinn.

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

I write my own prose and poetry. While I’m influenced by a lot a authors’ styles, I try not to mimic them.

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

I did it. Because I’m broke! I’d love for someone else to design covers for me, but I’m broke and can’t afford graphic design. A designer actually volunteered to design a cover for me, but none of the proposed designs really fit the book. I think that any designer needs to read my writing before submitting a design. My writing is often dark and brooding. Even with a title like The Endless Summer, it’s not a flowery book.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Write what you love. Who cares if it’s published? Also, when you’re ready to publish, it’s ok to give some stuff away, but don’t give everything away. Giving writing away cheapens our craft.

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

Please, please, please leave a review for the work that you’d read! Even one sentence! Obviously, five-star reviews are preferable. But even one word reviews (like “Awesome!”) make a difference for authors. I’ve sold a lot of copies of my titles, but have relatively few reviews. Granted, they’re all five star reviews, but it would be really nice if the amount of reviews were reflective of sales!


a stump
Greenville, PA

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The Endless Summer

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www.astump.com

Author Interview: D. H. Brooks

I’m pleased to welcome fellow GLAWS (Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society) member, D.H. Brooks to No Wasted Ink. A fellow fan of fantasy, comic books and vintage science fiction, Daria is a woman of many talents and I’m sure you will find her story as interesting as I did.

Daria Brooks - AuthorMy name is Daria Brooks; I write under the name ‘D. H. Brooks.’ A Legacy Of The Pacific is my debut fantasy novel.

When and why did you begin writing?

I took a few creative writing courses at university but did not begin to write fantasy tales until the late 1990s when I built a fan-fiction following online. Being a big fan of the comic book heroes ‘Gambit’ (Marvel Comics) and ‘Tempest’ (DC Comics) gave me rich background material to work with, plus I wrote Thunderbirds adventures as well.

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

A Legacy Of The Pacific is the tale of three teens, raised separately, who come together upon the revelation that they are heirs to a kingdom in the Pacific Ocean near Southern California. As the story unfolds, distrust and sibling rivalry turn to mutual respect and understanding. They learn to work together to save their home-waters and our coastline.

What inspired you to write this book?

Our family spent many idyllic Sundays at Point Fermin in San Pedro, which taught me to love the beauty of the ocean. However, I also recall the cola colored water at Cabrillo Beach and terrible pollution and litter in Santa Monica Bay. My novel was inspired by a desire to end public apathy to these dangers.

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

It was the title of a one-off comic book I created in 1993. The title indicates one particular tale of the Cote D’Or family, but there could be other ‘legacies’ to explore later on.

What is the significance of the dolls that you hold in your headshot? Did you make them yourself?

I created the dolls using the Madame Alexander Workshop through the FAO Schwarz toy store; they allow for various shades of skin, eyes and wigs of numerous styles. The dolls were inspired by the trio of siblings in the tale. I’ve been an avid doll-maker for many years, so it was an enjoyable task to create the clothing and to style their hair. Of course, in the novel the kids are teens, not little children, but doll fans love the little guys. What was truly important about this exercise was that all the while I was writing my novel, I was also thinking ahead to the promotion and marketing of this tale. Part of such a project includes coming up with items that readers (and a future movie audience) would connect with and wish to collect, so I explored various elements within the novel which would fit. The Sagara dragons, the glowing swords, the Victorian bubble wand and Pincin’s sea animal friends, Bubble and Squeak, were the obvious choices for tie-in toys and a video game, plus the inevitable princess dolls for Lile and Ciona and action figures all around. I’m looking forward to working with designers on all of the above. Novelists have to envision the “whole package” these days, not just print media.

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

I am hoping that readers are inspired to follow safe litter discarding practices in their daily lives and to donate toward protecting our coastline and the marine animals that call our shores home, particularly cetaceans and sea otters. We are killing them by the thousands with discarded fishing nets and cat litter being flushed out to sea. On the human side, I also want readers to understand the value of working together to achieve our common goals. People bicker too often about petty things, ignoring what we have in common.

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

Not a mentor but more of an inspiration: Clarence Day, Jr. I’ve long enjoyed the way he managed to convey life within his delightful, prestigious family so that it is still hilariously clever nearly 150 years later.

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

A little lady named Daria Brooks translates what I see in my head to the sketch pad. I illustrated the book because I knew exactly how best to express the look and feel of the characters.

Is your novel illustrated or did you only design the book cover? How many illustrations would you recommend to other authors that are considering illustrating their novels?

A Legacy Of The Pacific was created with four full-color illustrations, and the Kindle e-book version includes them. (The book will soon be available for iBook and Nook within a few weeks). The artwork depicts each of the siblings, with the fourth one being a portrait of Princess Ciona and her beau, the romantic Asterus The Messenger. My publisher, being decidedly small press, was concerned about the ratio of the cover cost for a debut novel vs. the price of printing with full-color illustrations. As a test, we created a short run of full-color prints at a low cover price, which happily sold out almost immediately. (Even I don’t have one)! All print copies available via Barnes And Noble and Amazon.com right now are without the illustrations, sorry to say, as I did not want to raise the cover price. There are plans for later this year to release a second edition of the illustrated version, as I’ve had numerous requests for a copy.

As for my process as an illustrator, I always pencil sketch my ideas first, then transfer the line art to Photoshop where I work with various color palettes and tools to achieve whatever vision I’ve dreamed up. Since I am constantly learning to use various options and filters within the program, each piece of artwork features a unique style. When I read novels as a kid, I enjoyed the inclusion of illustrations, particularly in classic novels which often included beautifully etched, dramatic frontispieces. I’m a very visual reader, so I always used my own imagination to decide what this or that character looked like, judging by the descriptions given, but illustrations were always welcome. My suggestion to authors who write in the fantasy or science fiction genre would be to include between two to four pieces of art, if they deem it worthwhile to their project. Grayscale or line art is a great alternative to costly color art. Often, the difficult part is trying to describe your vision to an illustrator, if you are not an artist, since only the writer really knows what the characters should look like. Luckily, I started out as an artist who worked my way into writing; now I enjoy creating both print art and the printed word.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be very careful and patient when seeking a publisher. I picked what I thought was a reputable small press publisher and lived to regret it. Join a writers’ association which matches your chosen genre and get as much legal information as you can. It pays off down the line.

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

Thanks to all who have taken an interest in my young heroes and have sent e-mails or otherwise contacted me to say how much they have enjoyed my novel. I appreciate all of the feedback I have received and look forward to working on the sequel for their further enjoyment.


Legacy of the Pacific Book CoverD H Brooks
Rancho Dominguez, CA

Nothing pleases me more as a writer than to find the exact word that fits the mood or tempo of a sentence. I enjoy playing characters against each other in verbal sparring matches; if their banter makes me laugh, I know it will do the same for my audience.

Novel: A Legacy Of The Pacific
Published by Cedar Grove Books
Written and Illustrated by D H Brooks.

You may purchase A Legacy Of The Pacific at Amazon.com  or at Barnes & Noble.