Author-on-Author Interview: Me and Robert Krenzel

So, Bob and I are in this group on Goodreads for indie authors and someone posted about doing author-on-author interviews. I thought, hmmm. Sounds neat. And posted that I was interested in doing some. Bob also posted, and we connected. What you see here is the result. ;) I think it’s really interesting that we’re coming from opposite ends of the genre spectrum, but we have things in common, such as always being writers. This was lots of fun!

Interview #1: Wherein I Indulge My Inner Journalist
Bob Krenzel
Robert Krenzel, author of This Glorious Cause.

1. What inspired you to write historical fiction, particularly about the war?

I have always loved history, especially military history, and I greatly appreciate the work of authors who have turned history into entertaining stories, authors such as Jeff and Michael Shaara, Simon Scarrow, and Bernard Cornwell. I chose the American Revolution because I feel it is a very misunderstood period.  When you peel back the layers of myth and legend, you are left with an incredible story, and I enjoy telling it.

2. Are there any challenges writing in this genre?

Definitely!  I think the biggest challenge is finding the balance between historical accuracy and a readable story. There are some readers who are passionate about historical details and some who don’t want to be bogged down in minutiae. I know I’ll never make everyone happy, but I’d like to keep as many folks reading as possible.

3. What (or who) inspired the character of Gideon Hawke?

Gideon was inspired by many people. He looks a little bit like my son, but he’s NOT my son. I did quite a bit of research about life in the 1770’s and read several first-person accounts of the Revolution.  These yielded many of Gideon’s traits, habits, and hobbies.  Furthermore I have served with lots of American soldiers in and out of combat, so Gideon and his buddies are also an amalgam of American troops from the Eighteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-First Centuries.  Finally, when Gideon does something particularly dumb or seems particularly clueless, there is an excellent chance I inspired that myself.

4. Were you always a writer, or did you fall into it without warning? What do you enjoy most about writing?

I have always liked to write, from a young age.  I was a History major in college, so writing was a critical skill.  I enjoy it less when I am constrained in how I write; I find academic and professional writing more of a chore. With historical fiction I can do what I enjoy the most: blend history and a great story in a creative way.

5. If you were stranded on an island, and could only have two books with you, which ones would you have with you and why?

Thanks for giving me two!  I would choose the Bible and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In Iraq and Afghanistan I carried a small Bible whenever I “left the wire,” because you just never know; it gave me great comfort. I would want Hamlet because it is my favorite play, and if this island situation lasts a while, it might help to pass the time. I can see myself holding a coconut and reciting, “Alas, poor Yorick…”

Interview #2: Wherein Bob Interviews Me

1. How did you get the inspiration for the Fey Touched series?

Fey Touched actually began its life as a vampire novel I wrote in 2003 for NaNoWriMo (a writer’s challenge held every November) called The Sacrifice. It was my first finished novel ever, but I’d set it aside to focus on other things. One day at work while I was doing filing, I was brainstorming ideas for possible self-publication as an experiment. And I thought of The Sacrifice, except I didn’t want vampires as they were overdone and it needed a complete rewrite. I thought of the fey, but wondered what they’d be like if they were based in science — genetically engineered humans who feed on souls and are policed by winged Hunters. And things fell into place from there. (The only things that remain from The Sacrifice are the characters’ names and the basic idea. Everything else is different.)

Fey Touched, book #1. A Queen fleeing from her people. A Hunter searching the stream of time. Forbidden love.
Fey Touched, book #1. A Queen fleeing from her people. A Hunter searching the stream of time. Forbidden love.

Once I wrote Fey Touched, it was fairly easy to come up with ideas for the rest. I tried to extrapolate where we’d be in 50-100 years with science. And that became the basis of the other books (except Grave Touched. That one’s a bit special).

2. From where do your characters originate?  Are they people you know, or do they come from some dark corner of your imagination?

From the hamsters in my head. ;) Truthfully, my ideas and characters come from virtually everything and everyone. Over the years my muse has made weird connections between things and people that lead to story ideas. It’s kind of like being tuned in to a unique frequency. Most of it happens without my conscious knowledge. (My muse is a bit insane).

I do base characters partially on people I know, but general traits, not specific ones. ;) Soren, one of the characters in Grave Touched, is based on a friend and former co-worker who passed away from cancer in 2004. He — or parts of him — always seeps into my stories in some manner.

3. Who has influenced you as an author, and why?

Other authors mostly. I’d read a good book and think, wow, could I write a great book like that? Or genres. I discovered fantasy totally by accident and fell in love (thanks to my Mom who bugged me to read my first fantasy novel, Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule). Before that, I’d been writing contemporary romance. Now I write mostly fantasy, sci-fi, and horror.

My grandmother, who was a writer and a poet, influences me from beyond the grave.  I have her Smith Corona typewriter which is almost a hundred years old and I’ve been told that she wrote newspaper columns using it. My original intention was to become a journalist, and I hold a BA in Journalism, but found I liked fiction better. ;) Still, she’s always near me and I think she’d be proud of me.

4. Describe the greatest moment of your writing career.

I think that would have to be when I self-published Fey Touched in 2012. I’d been trying to get a different book ready for querying agents (traditional publishing) and was so disgusted with the process that I decided to go out on a limb and try self-publishing. I was terrified and wondered if I ‘d gone insane. I spent 9 months total writing and editing Fey Touched, then getting it ready for publication — the fastest I’ve ever done anything. And holding the book in my hands, seeing it on Amazon, made it all so real to me. My greatest dream was to be published, and what an odd journey I’ve had, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Grave Touched - possession, ghosts, a land of dying things.
Grave Touched – possession, ghosts, a land of dying things.

5. If a reader takes one thing away from your new novel, Grave Touched, what should it be?

It would most definitely be the healing power of love. Grave Touched is a love story about two people fighting to be together against all odds. And then there’s the overarching problem which requires the Hunters — who are essentially a family — to fight for each other and the world. It’s the bond they share that allows them to overcome adversity. I have very strong family ties so I wanted to explore the bond that families share, both of blood and choice.

Link to buy This Glorious Cause:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1511465190/

Bob's lovely novel cover. ;)
Bob’s lovely novel cover. ;)
For information on me and my books, check out my website at http://www.erinzarro.com .
Thanks for reading!

#ROW80 Check-in 5/20/15 – Stories and computers and camping oh my!

I haven’t been around much, mainly because my 2-year-old computer’s monitor died and could not be saved. Alas, poor computer, you have now joined the 6 others that came before you. RIP.

Yeah. So I decided to buy another one, because I need a computer, and the one I had before the one that died is 7 years old and a mess. I stopped using it after 2 days of fighting with it. Not my idea of a great time. I basically got the same type of puter I had except with a bigger hard drive for HALF the price. SCORE. It finally came on Friday (after being sent to the wrong post office) and naturally, because this is MY life, I couldn’t touch it b/c hubby and I were leaving for a camping trip.

(Also? About 98% of my info was backed up in various locations…except my GT book cover. I have the JPG but not the original Photoshop file. I have an online backup service which backs up everything continuously, but the zip file I downloaded is not working so I’m a bit worried. Everything else is fine, though).

So. Camping was nice. We were only about an hour away from home. Had a bit of an issue pulling out one of the beds in the pop-up — it kept getting stuck! But hubby took care of that, and all was well. I did a TON of reading and even wrote! Handwrote no less! (That’s another story). Since I had almost no internet service, I had to get creative. I’d hoped to at least keep up on my email, but no go.

So I finished the rough draft of Changeling: The Faerie Dance, which needs to be typed up and revised. Due June 1st, first day of my vacation AND the first week-long camping trip we have planned (second is in August). I also worked on an older project that wasn’t gelling for like, over a year (no kidding!) and somehow it finally came together and I wrote about 1k. It’s called Covenant, and it combines the Chinese custom of ghost marriage with Egyptian mythology. I love it, but could never quite figure it out until last weekend. So that’s a thing. :)

As for everything else, nada. Still in a funk due to my eye, and still feel too frazzled. I had to put off a bunch of promo commitments due to the computer dying and I’m still trying to get caught up. That’s about it.

I miss daily writing. I hope to start again soon.

#ROW80 Check-in 5/6/15

I’ve been taking a break from writing, but I’m starting to feel the urge again, which is great.

What isn’t great is my eye. It’s been hurting badly all week, and I just found out that the special eye institute I was hoping to get into doesn’t think they can help me. :( With them out of the running, I literally have no one else to go to. (Unless I want to get third opinions, which the lady at the institute suggested but…I am SO done with testing and crap. I dunno. Maybe I’ll change my mind.)

So I’ve been in a bit of a funk about this, and feeling terrible. Granted, it could be worse, right? But it feels so unsurmountable — trying to work, trying to write, trying to live — and, well, I’m letting myself feel bad. For a bit. Then, well…I’ll get back to business. I always do. :D

I had an idea about Flamebound, my paranormal romance novella that I’d like to expand into a novel. So that’s happening along with all the other whisperings of my muse.

This Sunday I plan on working on Survivor. I may try to slip some Fireborn words in sometime, but no pressure.

Our weather over here’s been rainy, but it has started to get nicer. I’m hoping for a nice weekend for camping (next week! So close!).

How’s everyone doing this week?

#ROW80 Check-in 5/3/15

Yep, this one has flown from the nest.
Yep, this one has flown from the nest.

I’m back! Grave Touched has been released and I’m finally able to take a breather. I’m happy with the way it turned out — I had a few snafus with the paperback cover — but all is well now. Very excited!

If you’re interested in a copy or an excerpt, check it out here.

So what am I up to now? Well, I’m trying to solicit reviews and guest blog posts. Anyone interested? Let me know! I’m always willing to return the favor.

The big priority now is finishing Fireborn and writing the next installment in my Changeling serial on Turtleduck Press. That’s due June 1st. I’m pretty sure I know what’s happening next. It’s just a matter of getting in down on paper (or screen). Also I’d like to continue my Survivor Sundays. Today’s been a bit crazy so I’ll probably start it next week.

Ever Touched is also calling my name, so that’s happening.

Hubby and I will be going on our first camping trip in two weeks. Very exciting.

Soooo let’s declare some goals (from now to the end of this round):

~Survivor Sundays
~ Finish Fireborn OR add 5k (depends on the muse)
~Freewrite on Ever Touched (need to get a handle on a few things)
~Write Changeling: The Faerie Dance

How about you? How are you doing with your goals?

New Release: Grave Touched

GT-cover-Y-PRAC3 copyHoly crap it’s finally here! I have a book. And you may like it. It’s about ghosts and possession and brave people fighting for themselves, their loved ones, and the world against all odds.

It took me THREE YEARS to write it.

:does a little happy dance:

Here’s the official blurb:

Fey Touched – humans, genetically engineered for immortality and flight, tasked with protecting the rest of the world from rogue Fey…

Grave Touched – dead souls in search of living bodies to possess, especially those who’ve had a brush with death…

When Fey Touched Hunter Emily wakes up in a hospital, she doesn’t know that she was in fact dead. Nor does she know that her lover, Nick, broke all kinds of rules to bring her back. But the grave touched do.

Fey Touched Healer Asha does know that her mate, Joe, saved her when her abilities nearly killed her. And she knows the voices in her head are the grave touched trying to stake their claim. Asha needs Joe’s help again, but unfortunately she’s the only one who believes the grave touched exist.

The grave touched are plotting to take over the corporeal world, and they’re gaining strength. Only Emily and Asha stand in their way – and both are about to be possessed.

Grave Touched.

If you’d like to buy a copy (:puppy dog eyes:) or read an except, go over yonder. And if you love it, please consider writing an honest review on either Goodreads or Amazon. Reviews are like air and water for us indies. We need them to survive.

(Also? Book 1, Fey Touched, is on sale for 99c for a limited time. Check it out here!)

#ROW80 Check-in 4/26/15 – in the home stretch now

Here I am again with some good news! I finished the proofreading and sent the file to the formatter! One HUGE thing off my list! Yay!

Here’s where I stand:

~Finish final edit and send to formatter
~Prep for KDP
~Start wrap around cover for print edition Can’t do this until I get a final page count
~Create ARCs and secure reviewers Going to happen soon. Before release if I can manage it.

Getting closer! Today I’ll be tinkering with the covers and binge watching Game of Thrones. Because I need a break, desperately!

GT releases on FRIDAY. (gulp)

Chocolate consumption: need you even ask? Through the roof. For energy. ~nods with an innocent look~

#ROW80 Check-in 4/15/15 – Proofreading time!

Here we are with another check-in. I missed Sunday because I was binge-watching Game of Thrones. Oops?

So I finished the final edits and am now proofreading. I have a few rough spots I want to smooth out and of course I want to make sure I haven’t introduced any new typos into the mix.

I’m 53 pages in…of 244. I’m going to try my hardest to finish it this weekend so I can send it off for formatting and start setting everything up. I also have front and back matter to insert before it goes to the formatter. I’d forgotten how many steps there were to this.

Here are my goals:

~Finish final edit and send to formatter Next up
~Prep for KDP Next up
~Start wrap around cover for print edition Can’t do this until I get a final page count
~Create ARCs and secure reviewers Going to happen soon. Before release if I can manage it.

I’m in the home stretch now!

Chocolate consumption: Um. Still through the roof. A girl needs her energy…