Author Interview – Eric Fritzius

Joining me this month is a local purveyor of spooky tales about weird, wondrous, and just plain weird things.

Who are you? Where are you? What kind of stuff do you write?

I am Eric Fritzius, a freelance writer, actor, director, instructor, podcaster, and playwright living atop a hill in Greenbrier County, W.Va.  I’m the outgoing secretary for West Virginia Writers, Inc. an organization in celebration of writers and writing in Appalachia.  I write short fiction, short nonfiction and short plays primarily.  Occasionally my writing is published and my plays performed.

How does your work in the theater, as a writer, actor, and a director, influence or inform your short story writing?

Tremendously.  From elementary school, my earliest form of creative writing was writing plays.  My dad did community theatre, so I got to see him act in The White Sheep of the Family and The Man Who Came to Dinner.  I would follow along with the script to help him learn his lines, which was the first chance for me to see how a play is constructed on the page.  I was fascinated and immediately began trying to write my own.  I had no idea what the story would be, but my 4th grade mind wanted it to include Mission Impossible style mask removal, with characters revealing themselves as other characters.  In other words, it was unstageable and remains unfinished.  (Okay, I may admit to that one being a failed project.)  In high school I started attending a drama camp in which we wrote a three act musical comedy in the space of a week.  That was like going to boot camp each year.  You had to learn to tell complete stories using only dialogue and stage directions, with limited storytelling because you’re mostly limited to one set and therefore one setting.  You also had to learn what plot points your characters should summarize and which ones to portray, cause you had a definite limit of how long the play could run.  And I learned a lot about using music to help tell the story.  After seven years of that camp, I developed an ear for natural sounding dialogue and the rhythms of speech.  And when I began writing prose, it tended to be dialogue heavy.   To the point that I’ve adapted a couple of my short stories for the stage and have experimented with adapting a stage story to prose.

All writers are supposed to get into the heads of their characters and know their motivations.  But acting as a character tends to turn this process up a notch, because that’s essential to the job—particularly when you’re playing characters without a lot of dialogue, as I have often done.  It’s not enough to just do what the script describes your character doing and saying, you also have to know why they’re doing and saying it in order to portray it accurately.  And that’s rarely spelled out for you in the script.  Similarly, as a director, I have to be in the heads of all the characters in order to make the play work and appear to be happening as naturally and logically as I can.  Which is basically what writers do with their stories, except with prose the limiters of set and time get removed and you have an unlimited budget to work with in terms of set.  And, in genre, an unlimited special effects budget.

Tell us about your most recent book, story, or other project.

My most recent book is also my first; a collection of short modern fantasy fiction called A Consternation of Monsters.  It was recently published as an audiobook, for which I did the narration.

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How did you come to produce your own audiobook version of Consternation and were there any stories that presented any hurdles in shifting them from the page to the aural realm?

Having a background in radio, podcasting, and acting, I thought that doing audiobooks would be no sweat.  I have a small home recording studio which I had already to record a few stories for my promotional Consternation of Monsters podcast.  These weren’t audiobook recordings, per se, but instead recorded live readings at author events, recordings of stage adaptations of my stories, or were audiobook/radio drama hybrids, complete with sound effects and sometimes other people playing roles.  To record a mere audiobook, I foolishly thought, would be a step down in difficulty.

Before I attempted it, though, I was hired to record an audiobook for author S.D. Smith for his middle-grade novel The Blackstar of Kingston.  He and I had met a few months earlier and I was very impressed with his debut novel The Green Ember–a fantasy series he describes as “rabbits with swords”—and he enjoyed my podcast work.  He already had an audiobook for The Green Ember, skillfully narrated by Joel Clarkson.  However, Blackstar was a prequel to Ember, set a century before. It made sense that it could have a different narrator as it shared no characters.

Recording Blackstar was a true learning experience, and a humbling one at that.  All of the acting, broadcasting and narrating expertise I thought I possessed seemed to evaporate in the face of portraying a dozen characters, in a variety of accents from across the UK, while also maintaining the level of tension and intensity that some of the chapters required.  I would sit at the mic, furious with myself for my inability to get my mouth around simple words, or at the disgusting smacky noises I kept hearing in every syllable, or at the UPS driver daring to make his deliveries in my neighborhood, whose truck my mic easily picked up.  I wound up recording the whole thing twice and then re-recording some of the individual chapters three or four times each before I was happy.  (Fortunately they were short chapters, the longest of which might take fifteen minutes to read.)

The major learning curve was in engineering the recordings to the standards of ACX.com (which is Audible’s self-publishing arm for audiobooks).  This wasn’t like a podcast that you could record, edit, upload and walk away.  You had to have a consistent product across all chapters, with all audio files falling within the same range of levels.  I wound up being quite proud of the end-product, but it was far more difficult to achieve than I had thought.  It was great experience to have, though, before recording the stories for Consternation.

I recorded and edited all but my final two stories in early 2016, just a month after finishing Blackstar.  Then I got royally busy casting and directing a play festival, then a number of other jobs, and wasn’t able to get back to it until November.  By then I needed a refresher course on how to engineer the files and found a good tutorial source.  Unfortunately, it was too good and my new recordings sounded better than the ones from January.  I had to re-record everything using the new techniques.  Then, just when I thought I had everything recorded, edited, and mastered, I wound up accidentally saving the brand new version of “The Wise Ones” on top of the newly recorded and edited version of “Old Country.”  (What can I say–both involve other-worldly mobsters and they got mixed up in my noggin.)  Fortunately, I had an unedited backup of the “Old Country” file, so I didn’t have to start from scratch, but it was a mistake that cost me several hours in editing and mastering.

In what genre do you primarily write? Why did you choose that one?

I tend to write modern fantasy, but I was kind of drug kicking and screaming into it.  Growing up in small town Mississippi, I was mostly a science fiction fan.  I was drawn to stories of ordinary people who were pulled out of their boring daily routine and thrown into adventure.  I cut my teeth on reruns of `70s era Doctor Who (only a handful of years after their original broadcast, really).  Tom Baker was my Doctor and his remains my favorite.  From Who, I found my way to Douglas Adams’ work, after mistaking an episode of the Hithchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series for Doctor Who due to the BBC video production “look” they shared.  I loved it and soon devoured all the books.  This then led me to Neil Gaiman, who had written a nonfiction biography of Hitchhiker’s in the late `80s called Don’t Panic (in which 8th grade me was astounded to learn that Douglas Adams used to work on Baker-era Doctor Who).When Gaiman began writing comics, I remembered his name and started picking up his work, reading The Sandman, and Black Orchid, following on to his early novels Good Omens (with Terry Pratchet), Neverwhere and have been a fan since.  Back then, I dreamed of writing funny sci-fi, like Adams.  And if anyone were to ask if I was “into” fantasy, I would deny it with vehemence because I thought of fantasy as sword and sorcery.  But I loved Gaiman’s ability to create wondrous and often dangerous worlds that seemed to be just on the other side of a veil from our own.  And his books were definitely fantasy, moving beyond magical realism into Gods and monsters walking around modern earth.  Like my other favorite, Ray Bradbury, he took the ordinary dull world and revealed that the strange and wonderful existed within it.  His characters often began in an ordinary, dull existence, but were pulled into adventure, usually with an enigmatic guide or two to show them the way.  Great shades of Doctor Who, really.  And the fact that Gaiman has gone on to write for the modern Doctor Who makes me immensely happy.

I also write mundane stories, though, where nothing strange or supernatural happens at all.

What determines whether a story is “mundane” or has supernatural element? Does the supernatural element lead to the story or does the story demand something out of the ordinary?

A mundane story, to me, is any story lacking genre elements, or any sort of magical realism.  Doesn’t make it boring by any means—as the term mundane has come to be thought of—but just a story grounded in reality.

I find writing mundane stories more of a challenge than genre stories, but the temptation to try and turn them into genre stories against their will is often strong.  With genre, writers often have an instant hook of the fantastic that will keep a certain demographic of reader—fans of genre—reading.  Without those elements, I feel like I have to do more heavy lifting in order to make my worlds and characters real and interesting enough to hook the readers of all.  Now this shouldn’t be the case, because writers of genre fiction are supposed to do this same kind of heavy lifting in addition to the world-building necessary to bring the fantastical elements they include to life.  Somehow, though, what should be easier on paper seems harder to me.  I’ve found myself mid-way through a mundane story before, have hit a snag in my narrative and have thought “Oh, if I could just have Miss Zeddie show up now I’d be home free and could crack this story, no problem.”  In those situations, I know I have to stick to the mundane because to do otherwise would be cheating the story somehow.

Seems strange to say it, but I don’t think I’d ever considered if there is a difference in writing technique between my mundane stories and genre stories, or if the genre elements themselves are what leads to the story or vice versa. There are no mundane stories in A Consternation of Monsters, though there is one (“Puppet Legacy”) that is 95 percent mundane, with a hint at larger genre elements, and a feint at others.  In 9 out of the 10 stories, though, it was the genre element that inspired the story.  By contrast, many of my mundane stories (which I nearly have a collection’s worth gathered), are often, though not always, character-driven first with the stories building out from there.

Tell us briefly about your writing process, from once you’ve got an idea down to having a finished product ready for publication.

My process, if you’d call it that, is pretty varied and can sometimes take years and I pick up and put down a given story until it’s finished.  For every short story I have been able to dash off a draft in an afternoon, I probably have five that have taken months or years to finish.  (I find it’s best to have a hard deadline with embarrassment on the line should I not meet it.)

However, I find my ideas often start as a glimpse of an image in the middle of a story, which I have to then write up to, figuring out how that image comes to be, and then write beyond it to see what happens next.  For instance, back in the mid oughts, my wife and I went on a glacier tour on Resurrection Bay, near Seward, AK.  The scenery was gorgeous and inspiring on its own, and we got to see some pretty big wildlife up close, including whales surfacing near the boat.  On the way back to Seward, the boat moving along at a faster clip, I found myself imagining what might happen were a blue whale to burst out of the bay, directly in our path?  It was an image, but not a story.  Even if something catastrophic happened to the boat, like it capsizing, it was still just an incident with no inherent conflict.  But what if, I continued to wonder, the hypothetical whale had surfaced in order to exact vengeance upon a specific passenger? Not so much in the way of the 1980s killer whale movie Orca, in which the titular creature exacted revenge on Richard Harris (and Bo Derrek’s leg, to some degree) for killing his mate and child.  More of a Day of the Jackal, except with a whale as the assassin.  That was the point when I realized it wasn’t really a whale to begin with.  And then some new, exciting, and improbable images entered my noggin.  At this point I had some basics, but the ultimate story itself wasn’t cracked for months yet.

Probably a year later, I took an online test to see if I might be a good candidate to become a transcriptionist.  (I type nearly 100 words per minute, so it seemed a skill that might have value.)  The test required you to listen to a sample recording and transcribe it exactly, including making notations for any stray noises in the room, such as coughs, farts, sneezes, etc., with those sounds described in [bracketed text] on a separate line.  The transcription folks never called me, but knowing the format of a transcription gave me the key into my story of the whale/non-whale in Resurrection Bay.  In an instant I knew who my main character was, and how to get into and out of the story.  The rest of the details in between those points filled themselves in as I went.

This became my short story “The Ones that Aren’t Crows”, (which can be heard as a podcast at my website).

Sometimes, though, I’m lucky enough to have stories arrive in my head fully formed.  “Limited Edition,” which is the longest story in my book, dropped into my head, almost fully formed after I read a single sentence.  It was a writing challenge issued to me by a friend, who said I had to write a short story in which the following sentence appeared: Something told him that in all the world, there was no other fork quite like this one.

When you set aside stories and then come back to them later, do you always intend to come back to them or, when you set them aside, do think they’re failed projects that just aren’t going to work?

I don’t believe in failed projects.  I insist on believing that all stories can be made to work.  Eventually.  However, the number of story fragments in my NPROGRESS directory would seem to argue otherwise.

I read a piece from Neil Gaiman in which he describes trying to write his novel Coraline on a few different occasions. He’d come back to it every now and then, averaging 2000 words a year, and make a little more progress only to find he did not yet possess the skill to write further.  After 12 years he said he decided that he wasn’t likely to get any better than he was in that moment, so he may as well get on with it and finish it.  I can absolutely sympathize with this.  I definitely have begun stories that I didn’t possess the skill to complete at the time.  Some of these have to gestate for a while, with occasional revisits by me until one day something just clicks and I’m able to finish it.  Or I don’t.

Of the stories in Consternation that falls into this category is “Old Country,” a story I started in the late 1990s as a way to flesh out a particular corner of the history of the shared fictional universe my friends and I had created.  It began with the idea of a guy the mob is unhappy with being called in advance of his own hit, just to make him squirm, and because they believe his knowing will make no difference in the outcome.  The setting was the pre-cell-phone `80s, when a mobster could just call you at home and then have his henchmen cut your phone line afterward and hang out to make sure you stayed put.  I knew what the turn of the story would be, and I knew how the guy would escape his fate.  What I didn’t know was how to get from the phone call about the hit part and the escape his fate part.  Seemed like it needed something special.  And so the story sat there as a beginning and ending only for a few years.  Somewhere in the mid-2000s, I met an older lady at a writing event who chatted with me for quite some time on the topic of quilting.  It’s not a topic I have a lot to offer on.  So after I exhausted the story of my own grandmother taking up quilting later in life, and then officially retiring from it as soon as she’d finished a quilt for each grandchild, I was done.  The lady, though, had quite a depth of knowledge on the topic and was willing to share it—all about spiral quilts and block quilts and patchwork quilts and art quilts, and on and on.  Under other circumstances, I might have needed to gnaw off my own leg to escape (to paraphrase Douglas Adams).  But instead, I was fascinated by her stories because of a secret she revealed to me as to her quilting process.  The lady said that when trying to decide what style of quilt to work on, she would frequently be petitioned by the spirits of her dead family members, each of whom had an opinion as to what sort of quilt she should work on.  They would apparently argue with each other, and with her, until she finally made a choice.  Some days the spiral quilt “people” won.  Some days the block quilt “people” won.  It was a magical realism sort of moment for me, because she said it quite matter-of-factly, and with no reservation about telling all this to a stranger.  It was awesome from a character-study standpoint.  Thinking back on that conversation later, the elements of it merged into Martin’s grandmothers and their mystical quilting skills, and suddenly my story had the middle it was in need of.

Eric Fritzius-cropped

Who is the favorite character you’ve created? Why?

Probably have to go with Miss Zeddie on this.  She’s a wise old woman who appears in two stories in Consternation (including “Limited Edition”), and is referenced in a third, by a Mexican gray wolf named Fungus.  Truth be told, though, I didn’t create her.  At least, not initially. A friend from college, named Marcus Hammack, created her as a non-player character in a role-playing game my friends and I played.  It was a game set in a fictional universe that we collectively created.  Madam Z, as she was called, was an enigmatic, mysterious, and frustrating figure for our player characters to meet.  On the surface she was just an odd, wise, yet still very cranky old lady.  Somehow, though, she was simultaneously the most intimidating figure our characters had encountered.  Marcus’s masterful storytelling skills implied a great deal of power in her, while at the same time showing only a tiny bit of that during the actual game.  I was immediately curious as to her backstory, and kept trying to guess things about her over the course of our sessions.  Ultimately, Marcus revealed that he’d developed no backstory for her whatsoever.  She was a character he’d kind of created on the fly to help guide our characters because we’d obviously not picked up on the clues he’d been feeding us otherwise.  I was disappointed, but, after he graduated, I became her custodian, free to apply the backstory I’d been dreaming up as I saw fit.

We meet the old cranky version of Zeddie in Consternation.  A younger, less-jaded version of her will appear in the next collection.  (Oh, and we’ve already met her brother.)

What’s the weirdest subject you’ve had to research as a writer that you never would have otherwise?

It’s been a goodly number of years since, but I had to research the ancient origins of the Mafia for my story “Old Country.”  I couldn’t begin to tell you my sources at the time, but a Googling will bring up some that exist currently.  Being the internet, there is, naturally, disagreement.  But the version I chose to align with was one that speculated La Cosa Nostra began a few centuries back as groups of Sicilian farmers who organized to defend their land against the kind of repeated invasions Sicily has seen across its history.  People think I made all that up for the story, but if you remove the dark warriors—who I did make up—you’re left with basic history.

I suspect, though, that the answer to this question will change once I have a draft on a different short story—another that I’ve been wrestling with for a few years.  Its current title, “Draft of Chapter 13 from the Unpublished Memoir of Baron Ladislaus Hengelmüller von Hengervár, Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, 1894 – 1913” might give you an indication as to the era I’m researching. Despite its “assigned reading” sounding title, the story is an action adventure.

What’s the one thing you’ve learned, the hard way, as a writer that you’d share to help others avoid?

A lot of time and trouble can be saved by reading and taking to heart Stephen King’s On Writing.  There are around six pages near the middle of the book (you’ll know them when you get there) where he breaks down some hard truths of the writing game that often take writers years to learn on their own.  Or, indeed, accept.  Some of the advice he gives I had heard from others before in regard to my own work, sometimes for years, and had either not believed the advice at the time, or just stubbornly refused to follow it.  I’ve now come around.  I teach Mr. King’s advice to my own students, giving full credit to Uncle Steve when I do.  I then advise them to go read Ray Bradbury and see how gloriously and elegantly such rules can be broken by a master.  I’m certain Mr. King would agree.

If you won $1 million (tax free, to keep the numbers round and juicy), how would it change your writing life?

I suspect I’d get even less writing done.  Unless, maybe, I used the money to pay people to give me deadlines.

What’s the last great book you read or new author you discovered?

I’m super late to the party on the Kingkiller Chronicles.  I’m not usually drawn to historical fantasy, though I have dipped into it more and more in the last decade.  And I did my best to resist this series, too, despite multiple people whose opinions I respect telling me I would love it.  It took hearing Patrick Rothfuss speak at the WV Book Festival last year before I realized I had been wrong the whole time.  His talk was so good that I decided I was doing myself a disservice by not reading The Name of the Wind.  So I picked that up and it’s fantastic, as billed.  I had to buy autographed copies for a couple of the people who’d been telling me to read it for years, to make up for ignoring their advice.

What do you think you’re next project will be?

I’m currently directing a play called The People at the Edge of Town(May 19-20, 2017, at the Pocahontas County Opera House, in Marlinton)by WV playwright, A.J. DeLauder.  It’s a play largely about small town politics, class warfare, friendship, and family secrets set in a town council chamber.  After that, I have secretarial and contest coordinator duties to wrap up for West Virginia Writers, Inc.  Then I hope to get back to working on my own writing and voiceover projects, including the next collection of short stories.  It will likely have another inadvisable collective noun title, too.  A Solace of Baba Yaga, maybe.

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Author Interview – Yawatta Hosby

This time we talk with Yawatta Hosby, who wants to tell you about the things that go thump in the dark.

Who are you? Where are you? What kind of stuff do you write?

Hi, I’m Yawatta Hosby, a sassy leo, a quirky INTJ, a creative soul. I like keeping people on their toes, which gets me into trouble sometimes ha ha. I live in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and I write dark and creepy stuff. The monsters in my books are always human.

For those who don’t know the lingo, what’s “INTJ”? And how do you think that impacts your life as a writer?

INTJ means I’m very introverted, always in my head. I’m curious about everything and go out of my way to explore all answers. I like to think outside the box, and I’m always seeking the truth. INTJ means I’m a determined strategist.

Being this way definitely impacts my writing. It makes me write in a straightforward way, perhaps too fast paced. I’m not emotional, so I rely on my critique partners and beta-readers to let me know when my scenes lack emotional drama or when a character is acting too calm during a situation when they should be upset, depressed, happy, etc.

Tell us about your most recent book, story, or other project.

I published Twisted Obsession, which is a dark suspense novella. Miki traps his ex, Finia, into having a baby with him. The more she refuses to love Miki, the more he lashes out. He believes Finia is the perfect woman and Jahlin is the perfect son. He’ll do anything necessary to get his happy ending.

Twisted Obsession - High Resolution

In what genre do you primarily write? Why did you choose that one?

I primarily write in the horror genre. I chose it because it’s fun to scare myself. I get inspired by my fears, so I can relate to my characters. I absolutely love slasher films like Wrong Turn, Scream, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The more bloody gore, the better. When I write my stories, I always think in terms of what I’d like to see on the big screen.

I always have a hard time defining “horror” as a genre – what does it mean to you? Where’s the dividing line between fiction about bad people doing bad things and horror?

To me, horror means the book scared me to death. It gave me chills or it disgusted me (in a good way). The dividing line between fiction about bad people doing bad things and horror is horror will bring out the fear in you. Horror will give you nightmares or force you to keep the lights on. Fiction about people doing bad things can be suspense, thrillers, or crime fiction. It’s scary or creepy, but it doesn’t really go there in terms of being offensive or frightening.

When I watched The Strangers with Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, I had nightmares for two weeks and was afraid to answer the door if someone knocked. The Strangers is horror. Fear with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg was an awesome movie. Mark played an awesome villain. In fact, he creeped me out, but I didn’t have nightmares afterwards. I’d label Fear as suspense, a movie about people doing bad things.

Tell us briefly about your writing process, from once you’ve got an idea down to having a finished product ready for publication.

I have two notebooks–a book of observations and a story ideas one. Whenever I get an idea, I write it down. I usually work on multiple WIPs at once. I’m addicted to notebooks, so each story gets written in its own notebook. I don’t attempt to type anything in Google Docs or Microsoft Word until I write ‘the end.’ This helps me stay in writing mode, turning my inner-editor off.

After my story is typed, I revise it. Then, I get feedback from critique partners. I keep making rounds of edits until I’m satisfied after listening to beta-readers and an editor. My first two books I had a line by line editor. With Twisted Obsession, I took a chance with a developmental editor. She was worth every penny, making my book a creepy one to the max.

What did your developmental editor did that surprised you or really make you say that was the right decision?

My developmental editor Monica loved my Chapter 29 of Twisted Obsession. Some of my beta-readers had urged me to change the ending, but Monica said what happened to the son had to be done. She suggested I add scenes to make Miki a even more vile, creepy, demented villain. Monica really pushed me to keep the dark and twisted mood throughout the novella.

Author

Who is the favorite character you’ve created? Why?

My favorite character is Rae from my debut novel, One By One. I felt so bad for her. She watched killers torture her parents right in front of her face. Ten years later, her brother asks her to visit their vacation home, seeking closure. She’s depressed and withdrawn at the beginning of the book, but learns to toughen up and fight back towards the end.

What’s the weirdest subject you’ve had to research as a writer that you never would have otherwise?

The weirdest subject I’ve had to research was if there’s a death penalty in Ireland. I have a story idea where a little girl grows up to find out her dad was a serial killer. He’s not dead like her family told her. He’s actually rotting away in prison. It makes sense why she has certain urges.

So? Do they have the death penalty in Ireland? I think I know the answer, but . . .

Ha ha, they don’t have the death penalty in Ireland anymore. I believe it was abolished in 1964.

What’s the one thing you’ve learned, the hard way, as a writer that you’d share to help others avoid?

Writing takes discipline and hard work. You have to set a writing schedule and protect your writing time. Trust me, the people in your life will test you! I’m a fast writer, finishing a first draft within a month and a half. But, I’m a slow reviser. I lack motivation during this stage. Maybe because it’s a lot of pressure to get the pacing and flow of the story right. I urge writers to find motivation when creating projects. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely activity.

Do your schedule your writing so that you write for a specific amount of time or do you try and reach a certain quota each day?

I schedule my writing so that I write for a specific time. I find that I’m more productive in multiple fifteen minute increments throughout the day.

If you won $1 million (tax free, to keep the numbers round and juicy), how would it change your writing life?

That would be grand! I’d quit my 9 to 5 and write full time. I’d travel the world to become a traveler blogger for a while, then I’d share my short film scripts with local actors, or anyone interested in the production side of things to direct my own films and put up on YouTube. Hopefully small indie projects would help land me a staff writing position for a popular tv show. Once I got tired of LA (if that’s even possible!), I’d buy a vacation home in Maine so I could focus on writing novels.

I’d go to writing conferences and wrifing retreats. Since I’m shy, I’d pay for a writing buddy to go with me. Somewhere in this fantasy, I’d focus on creating comics and graphic novels too. If only money could buy more hours in the day ha ha.

What’s the last great book you read or new author you discovered?

I really enjoyed Homesick by Richard Simms. He had a way of bringing his characters to life with their narrations. A family moves into a house with a dreaded history. A history that repeats itself. A history that shows no mercy.

What do you think you’re next project will be?

My next book will be the sequel to One By One. It’s called Six Plus One. In the first book, Detective Brown vows to keep his daughter, Alta, safe. He can’t keep that promise. Alta and her friends take a road trip to Green Bank, West Virginia. The quiet town with no WiFi known for its satellite used to find signals from extrasserials. Filming their alien-centric web series in the woods should be an in and out situation, but a killer has other plans in mind. The crew of Aliens R Us disappears–not from the town’s legend.

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Author Interview – R.G. Yoho

Joining me this time is R.G Yoho – West Virginia native and Ohio resident with a deep connection to the West.

Who are you? Where are you? What kind of stuff do you write?

Hi there. My name is R.G. Yoho. Most people call me “Bob.” I was born in Parkersburg, WV, but, as a child, my father moved us to another cattle farm across the river from there, in Little Hocking, Ohio. I now live in another part of that huge metropolitan area of Little Hocking. And although I live in Ohio, I will ALWAYS be nothing other than a proud West Virginian. I have published three non-fiction works, one book of historical fiction, and five traditional Westerns.

What is it about Westerns that appeals to you? Particularly since you neither grew up nor live in the West?

What appeals to me? The short answer: I don’t know.

I will, however, state that the West has ALWAYS appealed to those who were born elsewhere. Many of the Old West’s most prominent figures were not originally from the West.

Annie Oakley was born in Ohio. Doc Holliday was from Georgia. James Butler Hickok and Wyatt Earp were from Illinois. Billy the Kid was from New York, Pat Garrett was from Alabama. Bat Masterson was born in Canada.

Perhaps my personal interest has a little something to do with growing up around cows. You cannot possibly understand our country’s Westward experience without knowing how critically important cattle were to the development and expansion of the West.

In the turbulent era of Reconstruction immediately following the Civil War, they weren’t only a major food source; cattle drives also drove the American economy. They led to the expansion of the railroads. Cattle provided employment for many poor Southerners, former Confederates and former slaves alike, both seeking to make a new life for themselves.

Cows and cowboys, they are so intertwined and crucial to the culture and the imagery of the American West. They are a part of the mythology, the symbolism, the rugged individualism, the heroism, and the reality of the West. And in a larger sense, they also largely defined the United States in the minds and eyes of the rest of the world. I particularly like that.

Arguably, the Western is the only uniquely-American form of literature. I am proud to be a part of it. There you have it. So much for the short answer.

Tell us about your most recent book, story, or other project.

My most recent work was Return to Matewan, which deals with the West Virginia coal mine wars of the early Twentieth Century. Despite the fact my books generally have a number of historical characters or incidents, this is the first one I would truly call historical fiction. The coal mine wars were an absolutely fascinating period in American and West Virginia history. In addition, the time period and the subject matter won’t make it a great departure from my Westerns.

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In what genre do you primarily write? Why did you choose that one?

First and foremost, I am a Western author. Even though my interests might occasionally take me in a different direction, I will always return to my first love, the Western.

My passion for them is a direct result of my dad’s influence. He started us off early on John Wayne films and television series, like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Rawhide. He rarely left for work without a Louis L’Amour paperback in his lunch bucket. I eventually read one of them, a book called Flint. It was then I became hooked on the genre.

Later, I realized that L’Amour wasn’t a young man and I wondered who would write books like that when he passed off the scene. I eventually reached the conclusion: Why not me?

Tell us briefly about your writing process, from once you’ve got an idea down to having a finished product ready for publication.

Ideas come easily to me. I have more of them than I have time to write them. But every book becomes extremely difficult in the pages from about 10-100. That is when I always want to quit and go on to the next project. After that, it is a piece of cake. It’s much like when I used to run half marathons; I always finished strong.

Unlike a lot of potential authors, I’m much better at finishing books than I am at starting them. Approaching the finish, I smell blood in the water. And when that happens, my wife often has to remind me that there are other things in life needing my attention.

Also, I revise constantly while writing. I only do one draft, if you can call it that. I constantly reread and rewrite a sentence or a paragraph until it suits me. I don’t move on until I’m satisfied it is the best I can write at that moment in time. By the time I’m ready to turn over the book to my publisher, I’m sick of it. I don’t care if I ever see it again. That feeling is gone by publication.

I understand what you say about pages 10-100 being a slog. So what do you do when you’re in that zone and need to keep yourself moving?

Perhaps the greatest benefit of having successfully completed a number of books is that there’s never really any doubt whether I can finish them. The question really involves whether or not I have the will to finish them.

Based on past experience, I know my writing progress won’t always be that stilted or difficult. The words will eventually flow like water if I only keep priming the pump.

In my own case, that means I need to park my rump in a chair and just write. Nothing meaningful was ever created without labor. And I’ve also noticed over the years that discipline often gives birth to inspiration. Some of my most inspired writing was done on the days when I started with absolutely nothing in mind; however, that is often when the struggling, wordless hours are suddenly transformed into a remarkable clarity of word and thought which is almost magical.

Once you truly understand or have personally experienced what I’m talking about, as a writer, you’ll forever hunger to recapture it. And if you are diligent in pursuing your gift, you most certainly will.

The way you describe your editing-while-writing process it sounds like you never actually read through a draft. How do you keep things straight for continuity purposes?

Unlike most of the authors I know, I never went to college to study writing. I am largely self-taught, which might not make me the best example to follow for method or technique. Maybe I never properly learned the things I shouldn’t do as an author. Maybe my writing advice should come with a warning: Do not try this at home!

I do read my books, mostly out loud, from start to finish at the end of the writing and editing process. While writing, I also read the chapters to my wife, who occasionally points out something I missed. Hearing them helps me to get a sense of the language and manner of speech, and also to recognize when it doesn’t sound right. And along the way, I make changes.

I will say that continuity isn’t a problem if you are constantly reading, re-reading, and rewriting a chapter. It tends to stay with you. And once I’ve passed Page 100 in a story, I have difficulty sleeping at night because I can’t wait to return to my story in the morning. At that point, continuity isn’t an issue; staying married is.

Who is the favorite character you’ve created? Why?

My favorite character would have to be Kellen Malone, who is the lead character in my ongoing series of Westerns. He’s just a man of great courage, character, and conviction, all qualities that I greatly admire in people.

He first appeared in Death Comes to Redhawk,  a stand-alone book, written almost twenty years ahead of penning the sequel. I liked Malone so much, when I returned to writing Westerns, I just had to revisit his character.

Perhaps best of all, I love his interplay, the spirited give and take between Kellen Malone and Joe Clements.

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You mention that you “returned to writing Westerns” when you decided to do a sequel for Kellen Malone. Was that more because you wanted to return to that genre or that character?

This, JD, is undoubtedly your toughest question for me to answer, because it forces me dwell on some things that I don’t much care to discuss.

Early in my writing career, sometime in the early 90’s, my literary agent had one of my Western manuscripts on the desk of a big New York publisher. But before we could actually sign a contract, they said the market for Westerns died. After that I became disheartened and stopped writing Westerns, perhaps one of the most foolhardy decisions I ever made. And that is why I say that you absolutely have to believe in yourself, above and beyond everyone else.

I did, however, publish my first book in 2001, but it wasn’t a Western. And my precious mother never lived to see me realize my great desire to see my Westerns in print. It remains one of my greatest regrets in life.

My return to Westerns was primarily my second attempt to enter the world of Western fiction. It began with a retooling of Death Comes to Redhawk, which reintroduced me to Kellen Malone. I wrote one entirely new scene for the book and refashioned the ending.

Revisiting Kellen Malone was like spending time with an old friend. And that experience made me want to spend more time with him. Obviously, this second attempt was much more successful for me.

You must understand that I penned Redhawk when my daughter was about 2-3 years old. My first Western was published when she was around 18-20. And when it was published, my daughter knew almost nothing about my Western writing past. She was just too young to remember and we never spoke about it.

We live with our lives as they are, not as how they might have been.

What’s the weirdest subject you’ve had to research as a writer that you never would have otherwise?

As a Western author, I am sure that my search history will probably be less bizarre than someone who writes other types of general fiction. But to answer your question, I would have to say: Serial killers in the Old West.

What’s the one thing you’ve learned, the hard way, as a writer that you’d share to help others avoid?

When it comes to your writing, listen to everybody. Lean on everybody. Learn from everybody, but don’t believe in anybody but yourself. You must determine and define for yourself what success looks like. Nobody else but you can map out the pathway for YOUR success. Trust your instincts. Make your own way. And don’t let anything or anybody stop you from getting there.

If you won $1 million (tax free, to keep the numbers round and juicy), how would it change your writing life?

It’s strange you asked this question, because my wife and I have often spoken about what it would take for me to leave right now. It’s a fun question to think about, but despite my time around cows and horses, I haven’t experienced any success at roping unicorns or rainbows.

The answer might be different if I was younger, but at this stage of my life, $1 million would absolutely guarantee that I would quit my full-time job. Half that much would do the same thing for me. I might even seriously consider it for a quarter of $1 million. But $1 million? You might be taking your life in your hands if you were standing anywhere between me and the gate!
And with those significant and time-consuming obstacles removed from my life, I could devote those same hours to writing more books. It would increase my production to no less than two books a year and perhaps three. I would also have the time and the money to make at least one additional trip out West per year, which would allow me much more time for research.

Perhaps best of all, I could devote all of this time to writing, without stealing any more time away from my wife, the most precious thing in my life, who will be celebrating our 35th  wedding anniversary in 2017.

You mention trips out West. Have those always been research? Vacation? A mix of both?

A number of years ago, I took my entire family on a vacation out West. Other than working trips for my employer, that was my first time in the West.  I loved it.

The Western Writers of America have their yearly conventions during the summer. They also rotate the events from city-to-city, state-to-state. Two years ago, we were in Lubbock, TX, and last year we were in Cheyenne, WY. This year is in Kansas City, MO, and Billings, MT, in 2018.

At the end of these conferences, I always try to take some days to research and explore the areas around our conventions sites. When it comes to writing, there’s just nothing that will compare to walking the places your characters walk. Even better  is when you have the chance to actually touch history, like when I sat down to breakfast at Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel in Cody, WY, eating upon the original cherry wood bar, a gift to Cody from Queen Victoria and shipped across the seas, after his Wild West Shows in Europe.

In Texas, I rented a horse and rode down into Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the country. While in Wyoming, I drove across the state to Cody. I had the chance to ride on Cedar Mountain, which some say is haunted by spirits. Although Wild Bill Cody isn’t buried there, his 1906 will stated that it was the place he wished to be buried. And I can certainly understand the attraction it must have held for him.

I also attended the Tucson Book Festival a couple of years ago, and made my way down to visit Tombstone, the stomping grounds of Wyatt and Doc.

Now, whenever I go out West, I always try to see some of the area on horseback. It’s become something of a tradition with me. There’s probably not a better way to see the West than the way people of that time saw it, looking through the ears of a horse.

I absolutely love the West; I feel completely at home there. My publisher even stated that I was “born in the wrong century.” And if I have my way, I will eventually make my home somewhere around Tucson from January through March.

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 What’s the last great book you read or new author you discovered?

Ride the Wind.

Lucia St. Clair Robson isn’t by any means a new author or strictly a Western writer, but her work is certainly new to me. Moreover, I probably wouldn’t have begun reading her work had I not gotten the rare opportunity to know her.

Last year at the Western Writers Convention in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I learned Lucia was seeking a ride to Thermopolis and I was going all the way to Cody. I gave her a lift, which allowed me to spend no less than 5-6 hours with her that day. I gained another close friend and the experience forever transformed my ideas about historical fiction.

 What do you think you’re next project will be?

In my last Western, The Evil Day, one or more of the characters suffers a great loss. Those kinds of personal tragedies cannot help but make some profound changes in an individual’s life. They can also break him, perhaps beyond repair. I want to explore those changes—and their aftermath—for him and the other characters involved.

Connect With R.G. Yoho on Facebook or at his Website

Author Interview – Carter Taylor Seaton

Joining me this month is another local author, Carter Taylor Seaton. Carter has written a little bit of everything, with her latest release being a biography of a recently departed West Virginia political stalwart.

Who are you? Where are you? What kind of stuff do you write?

Hey there, I’m Carter Taylor Seaton, a gal born and bred in Huntington, West Virginia, as we like to say. After raising a family, I spent about ten years in Georgia before returning to Huntington be sure my grandchildren knew their Nana. I’ve written novels, essays, magazine articles, a non-fiction book, and a biography.

As a Huntington native who left the area then came back, how does that experience effect your writing (fiction, in particular)?

My ten years in Georgia specifically informed my second novel, amo, amas, amat…an unconventional love story. While I lived there many of my close friends were gay, but when I came back to West Virginia I was shocked to learn that folks here, in the main, still were quite homophobic. In general, I think most novelists will admit that their lives always creep into their work, whether or not it’s intentional. I certainly see that in my writing.

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Tell us about your most recent book, story, or other project.

My latest project is a biography of the late long-term congressman, educator, presidential advisor, and WV secretary of state, Ken Hechler. West Virginia University Press is releasing The Rebel in the Red Jeep in May.

Hechler’s been a presence in West Virginia for as long as I can remember – what’s something you learned about his life that you didn’t know before he asked you to write his biography?

Actually, I knew very little about him other than the fact that he’d held public office for so many years, so almost everything I learned through my research and during our time together was new to me. Yet, for someone whose life revolved around serious issues, I was surprised to learn he loved to sing. Although he didn’t have a very good voice, that fact didn’t stop him.

In what genre do you primarily write? Why did you choose that one?

I prefer fiction, but the non-fiction book, Hippie Homesteaders, was a project dear to my heart because I knew most of those transplanted artisans and musicians and realized no one had ever told their compelling stories. Ken Hechler actually approached me to write his biography. How could I say no to a living legend?

Why do you prefer fiction and are you hungering to get back to it after a couple of non-fiction books?

In a sense fiction is easier, which makes it more fun. Of course if you’d asked me that before I spent four years researching the biography on Hechler, I might have answered differently. I do enjoy the research non-fiction requires, but the footnoting and indexing are tedious to say the least. With fiction, there’s also research, but there’s no need to document it.

Tell us briefly about your writing process, from once you’ve got an idea down to having a finished product ready for publication.

My physical process depends on what I’m writing. If it’s fiction, it first involves a legal pad and a #2 pencil, then I enter it in the computer for edits and tweaks. If it is non-fiction, I start on the computer because all my research is there.

As a former English major, I’m also an outliner. Not one that’s set in stone, but regardless of the genre, I have to know where it is going. So I’m a ‘plotter,’ not a ‘pantser’ (one who writes by the seat of their pants.) The result of too many term papers, I expect.

I think I’m a bit compulsive about having one chapter as tight as possible before moving on. That means I don’t write an entire draft before I revise. I revise as I go. Works for me, but might not for others.

I proof by reading from the back to the front so I don’t get caught up in the story or the sentence structure. Here I’m looking for typos and omissions, not revision opportunities.

Who is the favorite character you’ve created? Why?

I very much liked Cassie, the next-door neighbor of the protagonist in amo, amas, amat…an unconventional love story. It’s set in the 80s just as the AIDS crisis is beginning. She’s a lesbian yet, unlike most homosexuals at that time, she never bothers to hide it. She becomes the catalyst for the protagonist’s moral awakening. I’m currently in love with AJ, the headstrong, potty-mouthed gal in the novel in progress.

What’s the weirdest subject you’ve had to research as a writer that you never would have otherwise?

Timothy Leary.

What’s the one thing you’ve learned, the hard way, as a writer that you’d share to help others avoid?

I’m not suggesting writers avoid it, but deciding to self-publish requires a level of marketing that is hard for someone who doesn’t know how to do it well. It takes a tremendous amount of time that could otherwise be devoted to more writing. I did it once, but as a career marketing professional in my former life, I was comfortable with taking on the marketing tasks.

How does the “after publication” period – marketing  and such – differ between self-publishing and trade publishing?

It differs greatly. When you self-publish, there’s no one else to support the marketing efforts. Publishers do a great behind-the-scenes job of getting your book into the hands of distributors and stores, in front of reviewers, and entered into contests. Some of that, particularly the need for reviews and contest entries is much more difficult for the author than it is for the publisher. That being said, you still have to put yourself out there doing lectures, book signings, or appearances regardless of how the book is published. Publishers may book some of those gigs for you, but in reality you still must do lots of that yourself. And be willing to go where your publisher sends you.

If you won $1 million (tax free, to keep the numbers round and juicy), how would it change your writing life?

It wouldn’t change it much. I might buy a new laptop so I can work in places other than my “chick cave.”

What’s the last great book you read or new author you discovered?

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I love the way he tells the story from two POVs and how they finally intersect.

What do you think you’re next project will be?

I’m already working on a multi-generational novel.

Tell us a little about your multi-generational novel (if you don’t mind).          

Actually, a house that has been in a family for nine generations is as much the protagonist as the young woman who learns she’s inherited it. She has the option of accepting the estate or not, but the stories within the story are told her to woo her into leaving her much loved but hard scrabble life in West Virginia to assume the role of mistress of this Virginia manor. Will she or won’t she?

Carter on Social Media

http://www.carterseaton.com

Author Interview – Patricia Hopper Patteson

Joining me this month is West Virginia author Patricia Hopper Patteson, whose new book Corrib Red comes out in March.

Who are you? Where are you? What kind of stuff do you write?

Hi, I am Patricia Hopper Patteson. I am what you might call a tenement rat from Dublin, Ireland. For the first few years of my life I grew up in what is now the trendy part of the city called Temple Bar. Way back, this area of the city was known for its sub-standard tenement flats. At age seven my family moved from the city to the suburbs. I came to Morgantown, West Virginia as a bride back in the 70’s and have been here ever since. I write non-fiction, short fiction and novels.

How does your transatlantic background inform your writing?

Having a transatlantic background (love that term) is like speaking two languages in a way. I behave differently depending on whether I’m here or in Ireland. Living abroad certainly affects how I write and what I write about. Interestingly, I received my undergraduate and graduate degree from [West Virginia University] as a non-traditional student. So my introduction to creative writing came from WVU. My core introduction to story-telling comes from my parents, who made up stories to tell us as young children.

This trilogy at the core is about emigration. About the Irish in earlier centuries who came to the US but never returned home. That’s what the first book is about—returning home. Whatever extra money the Irish had after they emigrated was sent home to help the family survive. Many emigrated out of necessity in a time when travel was difficult and money was scarce, unlike today where we have so many ways to stay connected to family and friends

Tell us about your most recent book, story, or other project.

Kilpara is my first novel in a three-part historical nineteenth century family saga series. It takes place in both the US and Ireland and begins in Maryland in 1866 right after the Civil War. The second novel called Corrib Red is due out in March and is the second novel in the series. It takes place almost completely in Ireland and jumps a generation to two sisters who are coming of age and face the dilemma of choices available to them within the period constraints. The third novel in the series starts ten years later and takes place in both Ireland and The US. An illegitimate African-American daughter is central to this story that comes together in Ireland and throws the family off center.

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I’m intrigued by the span of time you plan to cover in your family saga series. Was that always the plan, or did the specific stories you’re telling just work best in those periods?

The first book was initially two stories and everyone that read it said it should be two separate stories. So when I began fleshing out and editing Kilpara I found out I had enough material to make it a complete novel, so the story reads that way.

I love anything to do with the US Civil War and the first novel begins right after the US Civil War (1866). When I was growing up I never heard anything about the Irish in the US Civil War. I was surprised when I first went to Antietam and Gettysburg to learn how many Irish fought in that war. That’s why I chose that period.

I jump a generation for the second novel Corrib Red which takes place mostly in Ireland (1885). This is Parnell’s time, and I’ve always loved what he did for Ireland, and how tragic it was that he died young. Many Irish turned against him when they learned he was involved with a married woman, whom he later married before he died. His history gives great insight into the culture and mind-set of the time.

The third novel (in-progress) takes place about ten years later (1896). This was a time of cultural awareness in Ireland that later influenced history in the early part of twentieth century.

In what genre do you primarily write? Why did you choose that one?

Right now I’m primarily writing historical fiction, but I have other projects started like mystery, romance and young adult. I find historical fiction fascinating. Although the 19th century was a less complicated time, it’s hard to imagine living without the conveniences we have today. People were far more interactive because they had less distractions and outside commitments. Just think, women who could afford servants, spent much of their day changing clothes for different events, breakfast, lunch, walks, visitors, dinner. It seems exhausting by today’s standards especially now when you can just put on a pair of jeans and go. Women were also restricted by societal norms and were treated like property by the men they married.

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Tell us briefly about your writing process, from once you’ve got an idea down to having a finished product ready for publication.

The idea for the novel is the easy part. It’s developing a whole concept for a novel that’s the challenge. Once the concept for the beginning, middle and end begin to gel in my mind I start to outline the story.  I generally like to start the first couple of chapters to get a feel for the characters and story at the same time I’m fleshing out the outline. After the first couple of chapters I finish the outline completely so I have a guide. On this third novel I’m trying something new which is telling the story from two POVs and switching from first person to third person. To make this work I’m doing alternating chapters—so it’s a bit of a challenge. I go through many edits of the novel starting with content, then grammar and proofing. After about the third or fourth edit the book starts to take shape. The last thing I do is read the whole novel out loud.

What do you get out of that process that you don’t get from just reading it with a red pen in hand?

When I edit with a pen I hear the story in my mind. However, when I read the novel out loud, I hear each word I speak. I prefer it if I can get someone else to read the story out loud, because then I really hear things more. But that doesn’t always happen. When reading out loud I can hear words that are unnecessary, phases that may be too long, and ramblings that may need to be tightened, scenes that could use some tidying up, and the pacing. I work on all of these things during the editing phases, but reading out loud helps me find anything I may have missed.

Who is the favorite character you’ve created? Why?

I have two favorite characters in the family saga series, although I must say I like all of the characters. The two that are most challenging are Cecil and Aunjel.

Cecil is a 19th century sociopath and very evil. I always love to read about evil characters in novels and look for their redeeming qualities. Cecil doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. He thinks he’s above everyone and everything and takes revenge on anyone who goes against him in a major way.

Aunjel is one of the two main characters in book three of the series and she’s the daughter of Lilah, a light-colored African-American. Lilah has a mutual liaison with Ellis O’Donovan, an aristocrat and major character, in book one. Aunjel is the result of that liaison although Ellis doesn’t know about her until book three. Aunjel also grows up believing her biological father is an African-American. To create Aunjel I wrote a 13,000 word story about Lilah, Aunjel’s mother, and her background, so that I could better understand Aunjel and her challenges in the late 1800s

What’s the weirdest subject you’ve had to research as a writer that you never would have otherwise?

In book three of the series I send David Ligham, a fairly major character in book two, away to West Africa to negotiate a peace treaty with King Prempeh of the Ashanti tribe. This is fictional of course, but there was a lot of conflict going on between the British and the Ashanti tribe around that period. I read three books on the subject to write a few paragraphs.

What’s the one thing you’ve learned, the hard way, as a writer that you’d share to help others avoid?

There are many things a writer learns along the way that it’s hard to know where to begin. The importance of editing is the one thing that helps establish a writer and gets them recognized. Also, if you find another writer who you trust completely to read your novel, or short fiction, and give you honest feedback, this will help avoid weaknesses in your writing.

If you won $1 million (tax free, to keep the numbers round and juicy), how would it change your writing life?

It probably wouldn’t change things all that much. However, I would love to write a novel set around the Grand Canyon, and it would be nice to spend time there to research the area.

What’s the last great book you read or new author you discovered?

One author I had heard about, but hadn’t read any of his work is Ken Follett. I recently read The Man from St. Petersburg and thoroughly enjoyed the novel. In this novel Follett brings London to life in the early 1900s, and the characters and plot are intriguing.

 What do you think your next project will be?

I’d like to write a historical romance that takes place in present time, and I’d like to write a young adult mystery novel.

How would you write a historical romance that takes place in the present time? That sounds like a contradiction in terms.

Sorry about the contraction of terms. I may have been a bit lazy. It’s really a modern day romance with historical undertones.

For example a situation that takes place in today’s world that is parallel in some way to Abraham Lincoln’s unfortunate assassination. The male protagonist won’t be a president, more likely a congressman or a senator, or even a mayor. He will try to save a small town from being overrun by corrupt business associates. These associates want to move a gambling casino into the town as a front to launder illegal money. The female protagonist would be the conduit between the present and the past. She would discover a dress worn by Mary Todd Lincoln tucked away in her great-aunt’s attic. Every time she puts on the dress (or maybe just touches the dress) Mary Lincoln’s ghost appears to warn about danger. Mary’s ghost will help the female protagonist avert the assassination of the present day male protagonist. This of course pushes the male and female protagonists together.

This the long way to explain what I mean. It’s a story I’d like to write but haven’t figured out the complete concept yet.

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Get Kilpara at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Learn more about Corrib Red at Cactus Rain Publishing

Watch Me On TV (Actually YouTube)!

A few weeks ago I mentioned sitting down with author Eliot Parker for his interview show Chapters. The show’s been broadcast and has now been posted to YouTube. If you’re interested in what I had to say, check it out:

We talk about speculative fiction, The Water Road, a couple of stories from The Last Ereph and a few other things. Check it out, enjoy, and thanks again to Eliot for having me on.

Appearances, Both Virtual and In the Flesh

As we careen toward November and National Novel Writing Month, here are a couple of other places you can find me this week, on virtual, the other not so much.

First, head over to the Speculative Fiction Showcase and check out my interview with them. It’s a great site if you’re interested in fantasy, sci-fi, or the like (and if you’re not – why are you reading this, anyway?) and their questions were different and fun. Check it out.

Second, this Saturday – yes, that would be Halloween – I’ll be appearing, along with Eric Fritzius (author of the excellent collection A Consternation of Monsters) at Empire Books in Huntington, West Virginia. We’ll be there from 4-6 pm signing and selling books, and even doing some readings from our books. I’ll try and find a suitably spooky portion of Moore Hollow to match whatever creepiness Eric will come up with.

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See you soon!

On the Air! (After a Fashion)

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to sit down with writer Eric Douglas for his show Writer’s Block on web radio station Voices of Appalachia. We talked about writing, West Virginia, The Last Ereph and Other Stories, and what’s coming up down the road for me. I had a great time and I think it came out well.

The interview airs tonight at 7pm on VoA, after which it’ll be available in the show archive.

Come on over and check it out.  Here’s some appropriate tuneage to get you pumped.

UPDATE: You can now listen to the interview any time you like here.