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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!
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