Tag Archives: writers

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 I was inspired to write the series as a prequel to my original unpublished novel, Adelphi (now Finding Elene), to tell the backstory of the previous generation behind that novel, in particular Mannok, Rasel, Ista and Dinnis.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


Rasel’s Song


No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! It is time for another batch of writers links from No Wasted Ink. This week I was heavy into reading writing tips as I gear up to return to revisions on my novel “Christmas in Kellynch”, the sequel to “The Curate’s Brother”. There were many great articles about writing fiction, including a good one at Tor.com about Speculative Poetry. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Honing Your Process of Receiving Feedback and the Revision It May Require

Writing Community Etiquette

Lessons From Three Bad Fight Scenes

4 Questions to Help You Determine Whether Your Writing Matters

Write What You Know—But Not Exactly

What We Can—and Can’t—Learn About Louisa May Alcott from Her Teenage Fiction

How to Create an Authentic Setting from a Place You’ve Never Been

Public Thinker: Ainissa Ramirez on Putting The Story Back In Science

Becoming a Writer: Calibrating the Work Against the Pleasure

Weird as Hell: Falling in Love With Speculative Poetry

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


Journey To Osm- The Blue Unicorn’s Tale

Cover Artist: Dasguptarts
Publisher: Sybrina Publishing

Sybrina’s Unicorn Book Store
Sybrina’s Catalog

No Wasted Inks Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! Welcome to No Wasted Ink’s top ten writing tip article list. As I surf the world wide web, I earmark writing articles that I personally find interesting…and ones that I hope you will too. This week is heavy on the writing tips, but there are a few about journaling and being a better reader that might be worth your looking into. Enjoy!

Why I Keep A Currently Inked Journal (And Why You Should, Too)

Write Short Stories, Get Rejected

How to Find, Develop, and Let Your Writing Voice Shine–Three Tips

Crafting the Short Story

How Web Content Writing Will Make You a Far Better Writer

What Redemption Arcs Tell Us About Forgiveness

8 Ways to Write Your Novel’s Outline

Can Writers Still Be Readers?

3 Beautifully Descriptive Novel Passages…

The Many Lives of Jewish Lore’s Favorite Monster

Author Interview: Maurice X Alvarez

Author Maurice X Alvarez writes what he loves to read. He tries to make his stories much more fun that the real world. Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

Hi, there. My name is Maurice, and I live in New Jersey with my wonderful wife, author Ande Li, two great kids, a dog and a parakeet. I grew up in NYC, and still consider myself a New Yorker at heart.
I’m an avid cyclist, finding the activity and the exploring of new places cathartic after a long week of work.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was around ten years old. I was fortunate to have family that encouraged my writing, including a cousin whose feedback proved invaluable at that early age.

I’m often asked about “when” I began writing, but seldom “why”. I was inspired by films like Star Wars, The Monster Club and Xanadu. They made me dream things I’d never dreamed before, and opened my mind to the kinds of places I wanted to explore and people to learn more about.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

There’s nothing more convincing than that first time you hold a printed copy of your book in your hands. That was January of 2011 for me. But I’d suspected I was a writer long before that, probably in high school when I found myself writing a number of sequels to a short story I’d written in 8th grade. One of them required me to do some research on travel to Africa and diamond mining. That’s when things got real.

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

“Return to Averia” is the first book of a trilogy called “The Trouble With Thieves”. It falls under portal fiction, a subgenre of sci-fi/fantasy I learned about recently.

It’s a lighthearted story of a thief from a distant world and two young women from Earth who are drawn into the adventure of their lives as they hunt down a borderline sociopath with delusions of grandeur. How’s that for a one-liner?

What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration came from a drawing my wife created one day. As I sat there admiring the drawing, a friend happened to peer over my shoulder and mused, “I wonder what the story is behind that!” I’ll never forget those words. He made me realize that I wondered what the story was too! Within a few hours, I had the character names, the epilogue and a basic plot.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve heared others refer to my writing style as “seat of my pants”. I know some authors create outlines and have other elaborate methods for their writing. And perhaps some of that goes on in my head, but I definitely don’t engage in anything so formal. My characters lead the way most of the time, and they get themselves in and out of situations, often to my surprise.

Aside from that, I write the way books I have enjoyed are written: easy to read and focused on characters that change and grow from their experiences.

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

Each book in the trilogy contains the name of a planet within that book. “Return to Averia” is actually the second time one of the characters goes to that planet. The backstory of their first trip to Averia became so rich that it evolved into a forthcoming prequel story.

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

That’s a tough one! I would have to say it is to look past small issues and just enjoy life. Like us, the characters each start out with a personal struggle that they bring to their relationships with each other and with others. The adventure in “Return to Averia” begins putting things into perspective for them. And that growth progesses throughout the trilogy.

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

There are so many! Issac Asimov, Larry Niven, Stephen Donaldson, Jack Chalker, Edgar Rice Burroughs… the list goes on. Their characterizations and worldbuilding skills were true inspirations. And with authors like ERB and Doc Smith, it’s more about the whimsical nature of the stories; you can just zip through them, losing yourself completely but without feeling like you’ve read a deep work of literature.

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

The original artwork on which the cover is based was my wife’s doing. There’s a pencil-version of that image which I converted into a 3D graphic for use as the cover. I’ve always been partial to the pulp paperback book covers of the ’60s and ’70, and this was my attempt to mimic their style. Though I did change the title about a year ago when books two and three were released, in order to get a consistent look across the series.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Two things:

Prepare yourself to receive a lot of feedback. Some will be good and some bad; that’s just the way it is. But you will have to learn how to deal with it. Just don’t let it get you down. Read it, ignore it for a day or two and let your chemistry settle down, then read it again and see what you think of it then.

Whether you’re new at it, or it’s old hat, you can always learn something from other writers. This is especially true for us, the self-published. Ours is an ever-evolving world, and it helps to stay on top of the latest trends.

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

Whether it’s my book or someone else’s, have fun reading!

Maurice X. Alvarez
Florham Park, NJ


Return to Averia

Cover Artist: Ande Li
Publisher: Room 808 Press