Tag Archives: science fiction

Author Interview: Seth Ring

Author Seth Ring is an up and coming science fiction writer.  I am pleased to feature him here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Seth RingMy name is Seth Ring, I’m a writer based out of Pennsylvania, in the USA. I’m married and have two children. No pets right now, though I have ambitions to get a cat. I try to send my wife cute cat pictures whenever I can but no luck so far. I grew up moving around a lot and spent a good amount of the first half of my life overseas, in Ghana, West Africa. I also grew up without a TV, so for entertainment, I read constantly. I have a day job that supports my family and have only recently started releasing my writing into the world for other people.

When I started writing I released all of my stories as serial web novels for people to read for free. Around September of 2018, I transitioned to Patreon where I have a growing community of supporters who are interested in exploring the world of Nova Terra with me and the characters of my books. Rather than wait until my books are completely done, I post as I write to get feedback on how things are going. My patrons also get to contribute to the story by helping me decide how things will turn out.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing about three years ago as a way to help deal with my depression. As much as it might sound like it, I am in no way a tortured artist. Instead, I find that my stories come from a place of joy and deep gratefulness for what I have. The power of a story to transport the reader to a different, magical world is one that I find deeply satisfying. I try, as much as is possible, to produce that in my own writing. Writing, for me, has been a process of showing the hope that I feel. Our world can often look and feel broken, but there is hope in it and I want to share that with other people.

Ever since I was little I’ve loved exploring stories with other people and my writing is really just an extension of that.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself a writer when people started discussing what a character was feeling in a story that I had put out on the internet. I had uploaded it on a whim, not expecting anything in particular, but a number of comments made me realize that the characters were good enough that people were able to invest. If a writer can create a character that people care about, then they are a writer in my head.

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

This past December (2018) I released the first book in the Nova Terra series, Nova Terra: Titan. It is part of the GameLit subgenre of Science Fiction and revolves around Xavier Lee, a young man with disabilities who is sent to live inside a virtual reality game called Nova Terra. As with all stories, the main character embarks on a journey of discovery to figure out his place in this world. The game’s setting is fantasy, so it is a fun blend of future tech and swinging swords. In my opinion, the most fun part of the story is the interactions between Thorn and the other players that he meets in Nova Terra.

I am also currently getting close to finishing Book #2 in the series and have already posted up through Chapter #23 on my Patreon. I don’t have a release date for Book #2 yet, but it should be coming out in the spring.

What inspired you to write this book?

A google search. I had been watching a documentary on the strongest men in the world and ran across the name of Robert Wadlow, who is considered the tallest man to have lived. Because of my background, I started wondering how a computer would treat someone that tall in a full-immersion virtual reality game. The rest wrote itself.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I find my descriptions tend to be short and to the point, not littered with extra words. I try, as much as possible, to show that the characters are real people, who react in real ways to their world. Last, I believe strongly that language should be evocative, bringing the feelings of the characters from the page into the mind of the reader.

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

Picking Nova Terra: Titan as my title was not intentional or even particularly well thought out. Instead, I had intended for this book to be a short story and was planning a series about the world that would be written with different main characters. I labeled the original manuscript Nova Terra: Titan to indicate who the main character is. Then, instead of moving on to a different story, my main character kept having more adventures. I plan on keeping the first two words for the next books so they will be titled Nova Terra: [something].

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

If I could convey one thing through my stories, it would be that no matter what your experiences, no matter how dark the world might seem, there is hope. Hope for life, hope for improvement, hope that things can be better. In a way, I feel that books naturally draw us into a different world where we can see the world clearly, where we can see the hope. Often in life, it is really hard to see through the fog created by our experiences and feelings. I just want to reassure my readers that there is life on the other side of that cloud. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl tells us that humans need a purpose to live and that without it we face nothing but oblivion. Hope is the vehicle that carries us from the present toward that purpose.

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

Partially. I wish I could answer with a resounding yes, but sadly, the technology for full-immersion VR does not yet exist. Maybe someday. However, it is important to realize that there is little fundamental difference in the human experience. We all suffer to varying degrees. We all have to deal with disappointment, with broken relationships, with difficult challenges. The emotion that my character’s feel is real in the sense that I have felt it before. I think that is what allows us to resonate with them and to understand their choices.

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

Growing up I read a lot of Louis L’amour and Georgette Heyer, two drastically different writers. Louis L’amour was a pulp western writer who was known for his short, clipped, action-focused writing and the way he showed the character of his heroes and villains rather than telling it. Very different from Louis L’amour, Georgette Heyer wrote the most wonderful Regency Romances. In fact, many credit Heyer for popularizing the genre. Heyer had a particular knack for writing out conversation that revealed the inner workings of her character’s minds without being obvious. Add to that my adoration of G. K. Chesterton’s ability to invoke feeling through language and you have my three biggest influences.

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

Absolutely, though writing is not something that he does full time. My father has always encouraged me to write the truth which was highly influential in how my writing style has developed. We can write difficult things, so long as they are true things. We can show the world for what it is, so long as we do not distort it for our own agenda. We can write about darkness so long as we show that light exists as well.

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

Originally, the cover for my book was put together by someone on one of the sites that I was using to post my book. However, they had used some images that were not available for reuse, so I took the cover to Fiverr and a lovely lady from Germany recreated it for me at a great price.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day. Come join the #5amWritersClub on twitter. If you have to work at 5 am, get up an hour earlier. Don’t worry about crafting something perfect, instead, write something silly. Write something that brings a smile to your face. Write something that sparks joy in you. If you enjoy it, you’ll do it. If you enjoy it, someone else will as well. Practice hard, practice often, and as you do your craft will get better and better.

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

I can’t stress how appreciative I am of their continued support. Especially those that have joined me on Patreon to explore Nova Terra. We’re having a lot of fun and it is adding a dimension of enjoyment to my writing that I never imagined could exist when I started writing.

New Terra - Titan Book CoverSeth Ring
Lancaster, PA

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Author Interview: Ian Hugh McAllister

Author Ian McAllister is a careful and calculating writer, which is why it takes so long to complete a project. He is currently engaged in a campaign to bring back real science-fiction, the science-based non-fantasy genre of such writers as Hal Clement.  Please welcome my friend and up and coming author to No Wasted Ink.

author ian hugh mcallisterHi Wendy, I am Ian Hugh McAllister, the ‘Hugh’ is only included in my author name to distinguish from the other Ian McAllister (the wolf books etc). I am a 58-year old early retired English ATC controller, originally from the Liverpool area. I’m also a lifetime airliner nut, and a keen traveller. I have lived in Dorset, close to England’s Jurassic Coast for nearly 35 years with my wife Simone. We have a grown up son.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have always written for pleasure, but it got real when I was encouraged to write a biography of my grandmother in 2011. Hilda James was Britain’s first female swimming superstar in 1920. The resulting book, Lost Olympics, was successful in that it saw Hilda posthumously inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2016. As she was the first celebrity to be taken on by the Cunard Line, I also started receiving invitations to join the cruise ship entertainment speaker circuit, and talk about her life and times.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think that came with the publication of my first sci-fi novel To Visit Earth. The biography was an in-depth research project, and the book was pretty much an assembly job. Creating my own fiction is what I had always wanted to do.

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

To Visit Earth centres around the closest Earth-approach by a comet in recorded history, some time in the not so distant future. The eventual result finds lunar geologist Lucy Grappelli injured and trapped in a crashed exploration vehicle, over 1000km from the established moon base and beyond all possible help. It’s a survival story with what I have been told is a worthy twist.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am a fan of the harder side of science fiction, having been brought up on it by my parents. I do read widely in all variations of sci-fi and fantasy, but hard sci-fi is very much my thing. 50 years on from reading my first science fiction, I have finally put my money where my mouth is and tried to prove I can publish something original.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think I am developing one. I am an admin with a busy writers/authors group on Facebook (10 Minute Novelists), and I firmly believe we are told to follow far too many rules in our writing. This is leading to a loss of individuality in styles. A good example is the sweeping “show don’t tell”. Now with sci-fi of course, a certain amount of world-building, exposition, and even info-dumping is acceptable. I personally like a 50/50 approach to “show don’t tell.”

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

This is another area that causes a lot of discussion in the writing group, and I have a stock answer. The expression “To Visit Earth” jumped out at me as I wrote the book. It is a short statement that is repeated in the text, but becomes a revelation, and pivotal to the story.

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

Now, I don’t want to drop a spoiler so I will have to be careful. I could say never discount the possibility of help from unexpected sources.

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

This is a great question, and comes under another writing guide, “write what you know.” Suffice to say that I have had 35 years of experience of all points on the management spectrum. Several ex-colleagues and friends from ATC have named certain poor unfortunates, still desperately trying to manage sections of the business, as role-models for my management team in the book. If I was American I’d be taking the 5th, I believe you call it. However, I do retain that wonderful get-out clause, “No character in this work is intended to resemble any person, either living or dead… yada yada,” while making that evil Blofeld chuckle!

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

My first strong influences were the great pulp writers of the 1950s, I grew up with an entire bookcase of Galaxy and Astounding as my tool for visiting the universe. These had been amassed by the parents as they partied their way through Liverpool University in the early 1950s. Eventually, I settled on the Heinlein juvenile series (Have Spacesuit Will Travel retains a place in my all-time top 10 books). Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, James Blish, ah, many of the greats.

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

Definitely. I firmly believe that Hal Clement has shaped my aspirations. I have read and re-read all his books. The novel Mission Of Gravity and its associated works (later published as the collection “Heavy Planet“) is for me a seminal piece of hard sci-fi. Clement went as far as to publish a paper postulating the possibility of a planet such as his Mesklin. Would that I could produce something a quarter as good.

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

A young 10 Minute Novelists member and friend, Jonas Meyes-Steger designed the cover, using a few written notes I sent him. Jonas is disabled, and currently finishing a self-financed university course. While many of us aspired to write and be published, Jonas dreamed of becoming a commissioning editor. I don’t think it’s a matter of record yet, but remember that name. That’s all I’m allowed to say.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Join a writing community. Read. Yes, in fact, read, read, read, and then read some more. Read in the genre you want to write, but extend your sphere of knowledge into all sorts of other places.

Then, when you are ready to write, learn the rules; Grammar, syntax, how to string a coherent sentence together. Recognise different styles, there are a lot.

Then, while knowing all that stuff, write. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules really. If there were, reading would be deadly dull. So break the rules if you want to, but break them well, and with reason.

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

I’m working on a sequel. I originally set out to write a heavyweight, stand-alone novel, but that’s what happens when you start to enjoy it. Don’t hold your breath, To Visit Earth took 20 years from original idea to published book! No, seriously, I have accountability partners nipping at my heels. I need to stick my neck out and say – 2021/Remnant Planet!

to visit earth book coverIan Hugh McAllister
Broadstone, Dorset, England

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To Visit Earth

Cover Artist: Jonas Mayes-Steger
Publisher: Cloaked Press

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Author Interview: Mary E Lowd

Author Mary E. Lowd is a science-fiction and furry writer in Oregon. She’s had five novels and more than one hundred short stories published, and her fiction has won an Ursa Major Award and two Cóyotl Awards. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Mary LowdMary E. Lowd grew up in Oregon, surrounded by gray skies, green trees, and imaginary animals of every kind. She went to an engineering college in Southern California (too sunny) and then spent six years living in Seattle (too gray) before returning to Oregon (just right!). She lives in a house hidden behind a rose garden with her husband, daughter, son, a bevy of cats and dogs, and the occasional fish. She spends her time in coffee shops, drinking chai and writing about all the imaginary animals.

When and why did you begin writing?

My mother wrote down stories I told her before I could even read. I remember her sitting at the computer and typing, while I played with tiny toys and told her stories about them. As I got older, I learned to write the stories down myself, and I remember filling sheet after sheet of paper — the kind with the giant lines on them in elementary school — with a loopily scrawled story about polar bears escaping from a zoo. By middle school, I was typing my stories, and the blank space of a Word document was my favorite place to be because I could fill it with talking animals, wonderful worlds, and anything else I wanted.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote a poem about a bird soaring through the sky — only four lines long and nothing remarkable — in fourth or fifth grade. Somehow, that was the moment I decided, and bizarrely, I never changed my mind. I never even doubted that writing fiction was what I wanted to do with my life until nearly two decades later after I’d already self-published my first novel, “Otters In Space,” and was struggling to find readers for it. The doubt was short-lived — a couple of hours, but it was an intense and terrifying experience. I’d known who I was and what I wanted to do since I was ten. No matter what else has happened in my life, I’ve always had that commitment to anchor me.

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

My latest novel, “The Snake’s Song,” is a fantasy adventure story about a squirrel searching deep underground for the lost celestial treasures. She faces danger — including ghost moles, sorcerer crabs, and a mysterious leontaur — and finds new friends (and maybe herself!) along the way.

What inspired you to write this book?

A local writer I knew, Matthew Lowes, created a card game called Dungeon Solitaire. The game is a cross between a D&D campaign and solitaire, and it’s best played with a custom deck of tarot cards with art by Josephe Vandel. I had already been using tarot cards as writing prompts for my flash fiction stories. So when I learned about this game and learned that a local group of writers were writing related novels, it seemed like a perfect fit. The only rules for the tie-in novels were that they had to be inspired by the game and feature descent into a labyrinth. The result has been a wide variety of novels, in settings ranging from a post-apocalyptic future to the modern-day Congo to the afterlife itself.

Do you have a specific writing style?

It’s hard to see my own writing style because it’s the filter through which I look at the world. I like to think that I bring a mix of light, absurdist humor to straightforward, practical prose that’s not afraid to reflect reality, even when it gets a little dark. I rarely write poetry for poetry’s sake, because I’m more interested in conveying ideas and insight, telling the story, than building castles out of words. That said, some ideas are inherently lyrical and deserve to have their beauty conveyed.

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

“The Snake’s Song” is about a squirrel getting drawn away from her day-to-day life in the trees and into a dangerous adventure underground by the song of a snake. Literally. So, the title felt right, and it sounded beautiful. That said, I’ve accidentally called it “The Squirrel’s Song” many, many times.

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

The main character Witch-Hazel faces hardships, events beyond her control, and terrifying trials — but she keeps going; she doesn’t give up hope; she keeps questing. I hope she can be a friend to people who need a tenacious squirrel adventurer in their lives to help them keep going.

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

There are always pieces of myself and my life in the characters I write, even if they’re only pieces of speculation and imagination, daydreams that I’ve had. However, I think “The Snake’s Song” reflects my own life less than any of my other novels, because I specifically wrote it as an escape, a chance to try something different.

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

Ursula K. LeGuin for her depth of insight; Jane Austen for her cleverness; Connie Willis for her clear prose; and Douglas Adams for his humor.

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

My friend Nina Kiriki Hoffman is a science-fiction, fantasy, and YA author. We met through our critique group, the Wordos, and over the last few years, I’ve spent countless hours at coffee shops with her, writing fiction. She has a way of treating writing like both a serious career and a fun pastime at once — or maybe just a way of life. I admire her greatly and have learned a great deal about how to be a writer just by spending time with her. Also, her fiction is amazing — it combines delightful magic and fantasy with personable, deeply believable characters.

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

Every novel in the Labyrinth of Souls series has cover art by Josephe Vandel, taken from one of the tarot cards in the Dungeon Solitaire deck. I chose the sun card for “The Snake’s Song,” because it was the brightest, happiest looking card in the whole deck, and I knew my novel — an adventure featuring a plucky squirrel — would likely be the lightest novel in the whole dark fantasy series. Also, the sunflower imagery in the sun card figures heavily in the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find ways to enjoy what you do. Writing can be really hard, and the rewards can be far removed from the work that leads to them. So, if you can find ways to enjoy the process, find happiness in the work, then it will all be so much better. That sounds vague, so let me offer some concrete examples — my writing group gives chocolate for short story rejections; a friend and I reward each other with tiny toys for writing a thousand words in one sitting; when I did NaNoWriMo last year, I got myself an advent calendar and opened a door for every 2000 words, meaning I had to reach 50,000 — a full novel — to make my way through the whole calendar. All of that might seem silly, but it keeps writing fun and helps build up the habit of writing regularly and writing a lot. When I’m in the habit of writing, then it’s easier to write the stories I really care about.

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

Vote.

the snake song book coverMary E. Lowd
Eugene, Oregon

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Cover Artist: Josephe Vandel 
Publisher: ShadowSpinners Press

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Author Interview: Muriel Stockdale

Author Muriel Stockdale is an intrepid creative adventurer inviting everyone to appreciate diverse views and ideas in her art, theater, film, and writing. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Muriel StockdaleMy name is Muriel Stockdale, for over 40 years I was a costume designer for film, TV, theatre, opera and more for shows like Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, TV shows like Law and Order, Ghost Writer and Guiding Light. I also taught many designers some are now Emmy, Tony and Oscar winners at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate School for Design. I have worked with the Muppets designing and building costumes. Since 2003 I turned toward art and writing, made a short film about spirituality in New York and started a group to support artists looking to create works that uplift their audiences. Currently, I focus on writing and art. My work can be seen at http://www.murielstockdale.com.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have always been writing and collecting stories and ideas so in 2000 when I decided to change my career I took a screenwriting class and produced my second script. My first I wrote by myself; I should have gotten help first.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

For me, writing was always very difficult until I took that scriptwriting class and discovered that writing is very much like painting and it is something I can keep working on and improving as a process. Also using a computer makes the process so much easier than a typewriter or a pencil and paper. Writing was hard for me in the beginning; it didn’t come naturally like drawing, painting and understanding complex clothing. So, when I began to feel successful in my written expression I could really appreciate the work done. Now writing is a joy.

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

My debut novel is a science fiction called Gabriel Born; it is based on my award-winning script Gabriel’s Flight. The story is of a female geneticist, Sheila Jensen, who is desperate to invent a genetic cure so she defies rules against combining human and animal DNA. She stirs outrage, which leads her fiancé and boss, Philip Ohl, to blame her for the illegal and immoral work, destroying her career. Still, Sheila is motivated; her rare nerve disorder will kill her. She engineers her last ovum in the hopes of creating a transferrable cure. Risking her life, she bears the child, but when he grows he is not what she expected.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write a story that would allow the audience to feel like they were flying. Often, when I dream, I feel like I am flying and I love that feeling. Many times in that state I teach people how to fly. So that was my first compelling thought. I do not really know how the story grew from there it just kind of happened.

Although I did set some ground rules for myself. I wanted to write science fiction that did not assume we must get to our future by way of apocalypse or dystopia. I did not want any of my characters attempting to use weapons to solve problems. I did not want an over present oppressive governing body. I did not want the story to be dependent on spaceships and future tech, though I did imagine the future of medicine a bit. But most importantly, I wanted to imagine what might happen to us as humans consciously if we start changing our physical attributes and tinkering with our DNA. Is there an unseen aspect to our being that we might become more aware of?

Do you have a specific writing style?

For this story, I made a conscious choice to write the novel in a manner that would feel as though the reader is watching a film. I was criticized for this but I feel that in this fast-paced, entertainment flooded world there is room for written works that move through our awareness in a more visual and fast-paced manner.

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

The original title for the film script was Gabriel’s Flight, referring both to the wings the child develops and the escape that he and his mother attempt. When I completed the book I researched the title and discovered another science fiction novel with that title so to avoid confusion I changed it. Gabriel Born may imply that this is the first in a series and it may be.

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

The message that I try to suggest is that we are not just this physical form that we are far greater. I also suggest that we are in control of our destiny for better or worse we can change our form and our consciousness if we choose too.

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

The experiences in the book are based on my dreams of flying.

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

Lately, I have delighted in Diana Gabaldon’s writing, I love her rich descriptive style.

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

I don’t really have a mentor or a style, I am too much of a rebel and a do it yourselfer. I prefer to muddle through new projects I tackle and find my own way in. Then I may take some lessons to discover industry standards. Although in the process of generating this first book I wish I had known a great many things about the business aspect of the process first.

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

The current updated cover was designed by Dart Frog Books.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. But also go to writing conferences, marketing conferences and learn about the business of your book at the same time before deciding to publish. I discovered after a wealth of resources that I wish I had known of first like the Writer’s Digest Pitching Conferences and courses. I regret that I didn’t know much more about editing and marketing.

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

Please let me know what you think of the book, write a review or contact me through my website or Good Reads.

Gabriel Born Book CoverMuriel Stockdale
New York City

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Cover Artist: Dart Frog Books

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Author Interview: Tim Susman

I met Author Tim Susman at WorldCon in San Jose.  I think you’ll agree he is an interesting author with a good story to tell.  Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Author Tim SusmanHi! I’m Tim Susman, a gay male American writer (he/him) currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area with my two partners and our dog. I studied business and engineering in college before moving on to zoology in graduate school and then starting a career as a database systems consultant that led to jobs as a product manager and a project manager. After being laid off in 2010 I took up writing full time and have been doing that ever since.

When and why did you begin writing?

In college, a friend of mine asked me to come up with a story for a birthday present she wanted to give me. I think in retrospect she just wanted a couple of paragraphs because when I presented her with a full-blown story she didn’t know what to do with it. The college SF magazine did, and I joined the SF club that fall. I read voraciously as a child, and I think I started writing because I wanted to tell my own versions of the stories I’d loved best.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when that first story was published in my college magazine. Seeing something in print with my name on it, hearing that other people liked the story and wanted me to write more, made me feel confident about calling myself a writer. It would be almost twenty more years before I’d call myself an author, though.

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

My latest book is “The Demon and the Fox,” the second book in the series “The Calatians.” Set in 1815 in an America with magic colleges that is still a British colony, the protagonist, Kip, is the first in a race of magically created animal-people (Calatians) to become a sorcerer himself. In “Demon,” he searches for the perpetrator of a mysterious attack that killed many of America’s best sorcerers. While on this task, revolutionary sentiment grows around him, but even though his people are subject to prejudice and abuse, he worries that he’ll lose his opportunities to become a sorcerer if he turns against the British Empire. If he can solve this mystery, though, he’ll be a hero and much more secure.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had been thinking about parental responsibility, and wanted to explore it through several lenses: first, through Kip’s relationship with his own father; second, through the relationship between the Calatians and the humans who created them; third, through the relationship between the colonies and the Empire that founded them. Each of these relationships in the books takes a different view of the responsibilities a creator or parent owes to their children.

From an aesthetic point of view, I love writing in historical eras, and I love writing about animal-people. I have wanted to write a magic book for a long time, but worried that my engineering background would make my magic too “science-y.” I worked for a while to come up with a magic system that felt magic to me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I focus more on character interaction and dialogue than on lengthy descriptive passages, but I also like to play around with different styles.

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

Kip is an animal-person with the traits of a fox, and the first in the series is called “The Tower and the Fox,” so I wanted the rest of the series to be thematically linked. In this book, a demon is responsible for the attack, but Kip also summons a demon to help him in his search and begins to learn more about their world, so I wanted the title to focus on the demon as well as our protagonist.

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

Mostly what I discussed above: to think about our responsibilities to those who depend on us, or those over whom we have power.

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

Generally no, although everyone in my life creeps into my books in one way or another.

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

Ray Bradbury’s lyricism was an early influence. Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper’s very personal stories of fantastic magic have stayed with me ever since I discovered them at an early age. Kij Johnson’s beautiful language and emotion were inspiring. David Mitchell’s imaginative and meaningful stories are some of my current favorites. Kazuo Ishiguro’s grasp of the human experience is something I strive to approach in my own work.

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

Laura Garabedian is a friend of mine and a fantastically talented artist. I’ve admired her fantasy illustrations for years and was delighted to have the chance to work professionally with her.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have this paraphrased quotation on my desk from William Faulkner: “Don’t bother being better than others. Be better than yourself.”

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

Just a very heartfelt thank you.

The Demon and the Fox Book CoverTim Susman
Mountain View, CA

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The Demon and the Fox

Cover Artist: Laura Garabedian
Publisher: Argyll Productions

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