Tag Archives: interview

Where I ask C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus the best questions ever

johngobIn celebration of his just released book and his about to be released sequel I invited C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus over for a visit. I am going to ask them a few questions and I might even get him to do some kind of giveaway.

 

But first I will let the man himself tell us a bit about his new books.

 

C.T. Phipps: Awesome, Trevor, I absolutely am happy to discuss my new books LUCIFER’S STAR and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER. Both of which are going to have their sequels coming out soon with LUCIFER’S NEBULA and AN AMERICAN WEREDEER IN MICHIGAN. I know you’ve reviewed both (see here for Lucifer’s Star and here for I was a Teenage Weredeer).

 

Michael Suttkus: You can’t make me talk!  Oh, wait, asking just might work!  I’m not sure what to say here.  I have cats.  They tell me to do things.  Mostly it’s “Feed me”, but you never know.

 

You had Michael Suttkus  as a coauthor on these books. Can you explain a bit on how that works?

 

C.T. Phipps: Michael Suttkus and I have been friends for twenty years and worked together on the RPG “Halt Evil Doer!” among many other projects. Basically, Michael Suttkus is an amazing world-builder and helped me create the setting for both Lucifer’s Star and I Was a Teenage Weredeer. Generally, I do the writing but often bounce ideas off him.

 

Michael Suttkus: Well, at first, we used the obvious method where we both write each chapter, then we force the chapters to fight it out in an arena to determine which is stronger while Star Trek fight music played loudly.  This proved less successful than we had hoped.  After that, Charlie did most of the writing while we threw ideas at each other.  While Star Trek fight music played loudly.  We’ve been stealing each other’s ideas for a while now so it seemed natural.

 

How much, if any outlining do you usually do for a book?

 

C.T. Phipps: I’m a hybrid author who generally comes up with an idea, “What happened to the Imperials after Return of the Jedi” and “What would it be like to do a Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the least dangerous shapechanger possible?” Then I generally plot out a bunch of ideas I want to do. None of these outlines ever last to the end but they give me an idea of what I want to happen to my characters. I take the view of, “How would each of my characters react to these events?”

 

Michael Suttkus: Outlining is a bit more necessary than normal in a collaboration just because you need everyone to know where things are and where they’re going at any point.  But an outline can’t ever be a rigid thing.  They say that battle plans never survive contact with the enemy, and writer’s outlines never survive contact with the characters.  They will insist on doing things their own way.

 

What do you think is the best pun ever told?

 

C.T. Phipps:” Oh deer. The puns were inevitable once I started writing I Was a Teenage Weredeer. Michael made me take them all to hart and I was unable to buck the system. I doe know if I could hoof it to the finish line as the very thought staggers me. *Ahem* On a serious note, I couldn’t help but make deer puns when I was making the book and Michael egged me on until the book had far too many. That’s when I decided Jane hated them and it was an actual “weakness” of weredeer she found stereotypical and annoying like vampires needing to count sesame seeds.

 

Michael Suttkus: English playwriter Ben Johnson was asked by someone to make up a pun.  He asked, “Upon what subject?” and was answered, “The king.”  Johnson replied, “The king is not a subject.” The second worst pun comes from Isaac Asimov whose “Death of a Foy” is nothing but a setup for one of the most groan-inducing puns ever written.  It’s all the better for apparently being a serious sci-fi story until the very last line when you realize you’ve been caught in a bad joke the whole time.  It is my life’s goal to produce a pun equally as painful and to inflict it upon an unprepared humanity!

 

In a few of your books you have snuck in small nods to your other books like Gary seeing a copy of  Cthulhu Armageddon. Should we keep an eye out for anything in this series?

 

Michael Suttkus: Charlie can handle this better than me. Though I should point out it happens even when you’re not looking. Shannon from Esoterrorism, for example, was the character who became Clarice in Lucifer’s Star. We move around characters we create and adapt others because some are just so good you can’t put them aside.

 

C.T. Phipps: Shh, don’t tell them we recycle characters.

 

Michael Suttkus: Bah, what’s next, telling them Wraith Knight took a lot from the Lord of the Rings?

 

C.T. Phipps: GASP! But actually, Trevor, we’re planning a crossover with Supervillainy Saga books. My next book, The Tournament of Supervillainy, is an homage to all those Crisis on Infinite Earth-style comics. Except I’m going to have characters from my other series show up and Gary visit their worlds. I totally came up with this idea and didn’t steal it from Marion G. Harmon’s Wearing the Cape crossover.

 

How do you manage to work on so many projects at once? Do you ever get them confused?

 

Michael Suttkus: Charlie does most of the writing.

 

C.T. Phipps: Says the guy working on three different books of his own.

 

Michael Suttkus: Which I will talk about when they’re done.

 

C.T. Phipps: Basically, I had a two year lull since I started professional writing due to Permuted Press making a contract that had my first books not to appear until 2017 (it was 2015 at the time). They never got printed by them either and I got another lull with Esoterrorism and Wraith Knight due to things happening with Ragnarok Publication. So, actually, the reason I had so many projects is I wrote other books during that lull and when I switched publishers, just handed them all my finished manuscripts.

 

Michael Suttkus: You still write like a madman.

 

C.T. Phipps: I admit, there’s also the fact I often let my imagination get away from me. I have more series than I know what to do with.

 

Michael Suttkus: How about finish them!

 

C.T. Phipps: My present plans are to finish up Esoterrorism, Wraith Knight, and Agent G as trilogies. Lucifer’s Star, Weredeer, and the Supervillainy Saga are ongoings.

 

Michael Suttkus: What about Cthulhu Armageddon?

 

C.T. Phipps: I consider it “finished” until my next idea. It usually shall come as a dream, I think, when the moon is in the proper alignment with Yuggoth.

 

If you could be any character from any book you have ever read who would you be? Why?

 

Michael Suttkus: Who wants to be a character from a book?  Terrible things happen to characters in books!  If they aren’t trapped in a post-apocalyptic hell-hole, someone’s trying to kill them or they’re trying to kill some evil, powerful person.  It’s danger after danger and sounds really stressful.  No, I want to be a character from a bad fanfic where the author doesn’t understand how drama works and everything is just wonderful for the main character.  Terrible story, but a great life!

 

C.T. Phipps: Captain Kirk is probably my choice because he not only gets to travel through space but he also has his legendary romantic life. *is hit by a book by his wife* Which is not at all a consideration but something that I was just bringing up as a possible benefit. Alternatively, I would be Han Solo for much the same reason. Feeling the Force wouldn’t be an option but I’d still have the Millennium Falcon. Too bad it would come with an awful kid.

 

A 35-foot ladder is leaning against the side of a building and is positioned such that the base of the ladder is 21 feet from the base of the building. How far above the ground is the point where the ladder touches the building?

 

C.T. Phipps: Michael?

 

Michael Suttkus: 0 feet.  A ladder with that shallow an angle to the wall will have fallen by the time you’ve finished asking the question.

 

How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

 

C.T. Phipps: About ten or eleven and all of them are in print thanks to the good folk at Amber Cove and Crossroad Press. If I had to recommend any of them then I’d say Lucifer’s Star and Cthulhu Armageddon are my two “best” works while I Was a Teenage Weredeer and The Rules of Supervillainy are my two most “fun.”

 

Michael Suttkus: Five, all collaborations with Charlie though I’m working on a solo novel about a PI in a world with superheroes. Also a story about a werecrow which would be more original if not for the fact Charlie put her in I Was a Teenage Weredeer.

 

Do you have any advice to give a new writer?

 

C.T. Phipps: Don’t put the cart before the horse. Finish your book first then start worrying about making a career of it. You’ll probably not be able to make a living writing for a number of years unless you get very lucky so being a part-time writer is to be expected. Write what you want to read rather than what you think will sell. Don’t trust the first offer you receive and double check with groups like Absolute Writer Water Cooler to see if they’re frauds or not. Don’t put down self-publishing or independent and make friends with other authors online. Social media won’t make you a success but it can’t hurt.

Michael Suttkus: Don’t forget to experience bad media.  If you can analyze why certain books or movies just don’t work, you can avoid making the same mistakes.

What was the last book you read? Was it any good?

Michael Suttkus: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.  Not to spoil it, but there’s a monster at the end of it.  I swear this book has turned more innocent children into budding nerds and writers by showing them the joys of metatext.  Most of what I’ve been reading lately is RPG books (“Numenera” was quite good) and paleontology.  I go through cycles.

C.T. Phipps: Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack and The Seer King  by Chris Bunch, both of which were very entertaining. I’m currently on a Star Trek kick to best help my writing for Lucifer’s Star’s sequel, Lucifer’s Nebula.

What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Michael Suttkus: Since you didn’t know I was going to be here, that hardly seems fair!
C.T. Phipps: How are you so awesome?
Do you have any questions for me?
Michael Suttkus: What’s up with the ladder question?

C.T. Phipps: When will you review my latest book?

I always throw in a few odd questions you guys got away easy. and as soon as you give me a copy. Speaking of giving stuff did you want to do a giveaway?

C.T. Phipps: Absolutely. I’ll happily give away 5 copies of I Was a Teenage Weredeer Kindle or Physical Copies.

Awesome! To enter to win just comment below. I will randomly select the 5 winners on Friday November 3rd. 

The metaphorical dice have been tossed and lady luck has chosen 5 winners! But first a huge thank you to C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus. I literally couldn’t have done it with out you! The winners are…………..

  1. Drew Cantrell

  2. alburke47

  3. Cristian

  4. Michael pope

  5. Sethia

Congratulations to you guys!

If you didn’t win don’t feel bad, just make sure you are entered in my new giveaway and follow the blog so you don’t miss my upcoming ones like the autographed Robin Hobb book that will be up for grabs  in December.

I will send an E-mail to the winners and if They don’t respond within 24 hours or so, ill pick a new name

 

Interview with Darrell Drake Author of A Star-Reckoner’s Lot

I am happy to have SPFBO author Darrell Drake in the hot seat today answering a few questions. He was also nice enough to send me a autographed copy of his book  A Star-Reckoner’s Lot for a giveaway. To enter just comment below on this post. The giveaway will end on September 22 when I will randomly select a name from the comments.

Thanks for having me, Hob! I’m glad we could put all those goblins slain in games and tabletop sessions behind us. Adventurers don’t often give much value to the lives of fodder, and we should strive for the change we want to see in others. So here we are, discussing books rather than exchanging blows.

 

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

As far as my first book is concerned . . . well, frankly, I wouldn’t have released it. I feel so much more comfortable in historical fantasy (even if that means years of research to get it right). As such, I would have been better served by a historical fantasy debut.

Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

Oh, man. More often than not. This probably makes me a terrible reader, but there’s a reason why your cover matters. That’s what sells a book, or gets someone to read into it. I think this is especially relevant where self-published authors are concerned, and it’s always disheartening to see one that was put together with clipart and Papyrus.

What FRAKING side are you on of the fictional curse debate? Any in your books?

Fictional curse debate? Yeah, let me tell you, that fictional curse debate is sad, sad, sad. Who would side with the opposition when the incumbents are patently superior—I haven’t the faintest clue what’s going on in the fictional curse debate! So like many other political and social scenarios, I’m on the fence.

Curses aren’t common in my books, but they’ve made an appearance or two. A Star-Reckoner’s Lot begins with my interpretation of a Mandaic curse that involves inscribing the curse on an egg, then burying that egg beneath a gate. As the egg rots, so too will the victim of the curse.

{ By Grabthar’s hammer  That was not the kind of curse I was talking about, but it sounds messy}

Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?

Hah! Try? Succeed, more like! Waray is a secondary character in A Star-Reckoner’s Lot who has been almost exclusively praised as the best character in the book. She’s an eccentric half-div (demon of sorts) with peculiar idiosyncrasies: wandering speech, pranks, delusions, inappropriate and contradictory nature, odd body language—the list goes on. All that and a dark, storied past. The A Star-Reckoner’s Legacy trilogy will feature her as the protagonist of the third novel, so I guess a spin-off isn’t necessary.

As far as themes are concerned, the effects of loss and memories and how we deal with them are central to my tales. They shape us as people, and stick with us until our last. How we interpret those memories changes over time, and in turn how they affect us. We’re defined by our past in more ways than we can grasp at any one point in our lives, and I hope to further explore that in my characters.

{Wow that is deep}

If you could read any book again for the first-time, what book would it be?

Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven. It was such a pleasure the first time around, and it’s the book that finally convinced me that historical fantasy was my wheelhouse.

{That was the first book of his that I read. I loved it.}

 

Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first and is looking at him and going nananannaanna, the third child has one less toy then the first child has, so is crying at the top of their lungs. And the fourth child has double the toys of the third child then takes 5 from the first child. No question here just a flash back to when I ran a daycare…

To the side, the fifth child has no toys—no trucks or baubles—only its gas mask. He watches and waits, hands in his lap, knowing the sleeping gas is imminent. His peers never learn, and that’s why his rise to the top will be swift and uncontested.

{Thanks for that insight in to your childhood}

How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

Probably three or four books that have been tossed in the latrine where they belong. Even took the time to dig a latrine for it. Currently have four released with three of them in print, but A Star-Reckoner’s Lot gets 100% of my focus nowadays. Historical fantasy moving forward and all.

Have you found any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Well, it’s more a case of the liver problems finding me. But I’ve been pretty elusive up to now. Don’t expect that to last.

{You can always just steal a new liver from one of your vanquished enemies.}

What was the hardest thing about self-publishing that you didn’t expect?

At this point in the game I’m not sure what I didn’t expect from the beginning. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t blundering around in my inexperience, just that most of it is commonplace now.

More than anything, it’s maintaining any sort of interest. Reddit has been incredibly supportive, but it’s one community—a powerful community, but still isolated. Without the spread, visibility, and legitimacy of traditional publishing, it’s a crapshoot. Every triumph is short-lived. You have to constantly push, network, try to find new ways to keep it in the minds of readers without badgering them over it.

{ Well I am glad that I may be able to help in some small way}

How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

Real people is a tough one, because who knows how many my lifestyle in a first-world country has claimed? I’m sure many of us have had a hand in one death or another.

Fictional . . . hmm. Millions. I’d say I’ve lost count, but that would imply I ever started counting. And was it me killing them or their decisions that brought them there? Let’s not free them of their responsibility just because I had a hand in their deaths. So hey, I haven’t killed anyone. All those characters killed themselves.

{The old Butterfly Effect defense for murder. I should have seen it coming.}

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in the previous question?

Probably something along the lines of, “I don’t support burning books or murder but yours should be used to fuel the pyre you’re tied to, you uncultured swine.” All things considered, it’s not untrue. Did help, though, because now I write just to spite them.

{Spite one of the most powerful forces on earth.}

What has been the best compliment?

Oh, this is an easy one. Some kind r/Fantasy user once said A Star-Reckoner’s Lot “wasn’t terrible”. Also mention of bad puns elsewhere.

Do you have any advice to give a new writer?

Don’t. Stop. Just . . . don’t.

What was the last book you read? Was it any good?

I think it was Valley of Embers by the redoubtable Steven Kelliher. Loved it. Imaginative, action-packed, enough mystery to keep me going, and a hell of an ending.

{ I agree it was a great book. My review of it can be found here Valley of Embers (The Landkist Saga Book 1) by Steven Kelliher}

What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

If I’ve ever written any goblin fan fiction. I haven’t, but I think you should canvass all authors you interview for that one.

{I will have to keep that in mind}

Do you have any questions for me?

Have you had a chance to play the Styx games at all? You control a goblin assassin, which as I’m sure you know is a pretty rare protagonist.

Awfully fond of your Hobgoblin Photoshops—hard to miss those in my feeds or on Reddit! Appreciate the opportunity to drop by. Finally, a chance with the Hob!

{I love hearing that! So glad you like my little corner of the internet. Thanks once again for your time, and the great answers to my questions. And I had not heard of the game until this, but have now played around 40 hours.}

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MarvyMagpies

Website: http://www.astarreckonerslot.com

Don’t forget to comment below for your chance to win.

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*******UPDATE**********

I have to apologize that it has taken me so long to announce the winner.  But here it is. If I can’t get a hold of Robert within 24 hours I will pick again.

giveaway

Interview with Steven Kelliher

 

  1. If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

Well, this being the modern age and all, I actually DID change something just a few weeks ago. When I first went to publish Valley of Embers, I sought out advice from another fantasy author/editor I was friendly with online. He’s a great writer, and he suggested that my intro scene, which began with a tense action scene in the vein of a thriller, was a little too jarring. I modified my intro and wrote an additional scene of about 3-4 pages I’ll dub the, “Calm before the storm” scene, introducing a few of the characters and easing the reader in. Thing is … it always felt weird to me, and when I did a blind test with 16 other author friends, they unanimously preferred my original intro, so I recently changed it back.

 

Other than that, there are ALWAYS things that could have been improved. I think I edited my first book a little too harshly, in that I trimmed some subplots that, while not essential to the overall story, were nice character add-ons. With the sequel, I’d allowed myself to up the word count, and–hopefully–add more depth to the ancillary characters as a result.

 

 

  1. Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

I wouldn’t say I judge the book by the cover, but it is absolutely THE most important thing in terms of hooking potential readers. Or, if not hooking them, letting them know the feel/tone of your book. If they hate what’s inside, it’ll all be for naught, but if they hate what’s outside, you can bet they’re not going to open it unless they’re specifically recommended to.

 

 

  1. Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher?

I put a two-artist team together for my current series, with artwork done by Aaron Nakahara, a Maui-based designer, and a graphic designer for the titling. Being on the same page is extremely important. You want an artist whose style not only suits your world, but whose personality suits yours, at least on a professional level. I controlled all aspects of the production process, but you should always consider the advice of visual artists when working in a visual medium.

  1. Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?

 

It’s pretty important to me to listen to the characters in my stories and let them open and guide the narrative. I’m a big believer that a cool world concept and magic system is only intriguing if the characters are compelling. Without them, you’ve got an empty husk, even if it’s a “cool” one. I have absolutely had side characters force themselves into positions of prominence, but it’s rarely been a bad thing. They’ve always got a good reason for insisting on the spotlight.

 

 

  1. If you could read any book again for the first-time What book would it be?

Hmm. I don’t even think it’s my favorite book, but I often point out Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold as a masterpiece in terms of pacing and thematic intent. All character arcs are tightly-spun and the narrative rockets along at an incredible clip. It reads like the best of revenge thrillers, and it’s got some epic flair and a good number of organic twists. Fun, horrifying, violent, beautiful and poignant, this one left a mark.

  1. When trying to figure out what a character should look like, do you Think of Celebrities, or just start looking at everyone you pass as if your looking through a mug shot book?

I’ve never based a character’s look on anything specific, at least not consciously. But we’re all influenced by our collective experience. I like to think I discover the setting first, and then I find the characters playing around within it, as if they’ve been there all along.

  1. How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

I’ve half-written, three quarters-written, five eights-written a number of books, but Valley of Embers was the first one I saw through to the end because I found out the writing process that works for me, which I have since streamlined and adapted. The Emerald Blade was the second book I completed, and I’m currently on #3. Before completing my first couple of books, I’ve made a 10+ year career of blogging, sports writing, etc.

  1. Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first, the third child has one more toy of what the first child has and the fourth child has double the third child. How long before you run away from them screaming?

The key to dealing with small children is to not have them yourself, go and hang out with family members or friends who do, be the most awesome uncle/big cousin possible and make sure you leave the parents with more trouble than you arrived with. No consequences, and you’re revered by tiny humans everywhere.

  1. Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Mentally, there’s the constant threat of comparison, which most writers fall prey to, whether that’s feeling down because you don’t think you’re as talented or will sell as much as someone else, to feeling like you’re more talented and should be selling more. It’s a part of the human condition, and it’s important to remind yourself as a writer that we’re all on the same team, so to speak. There’s a virtually-infinite pool of potential readers and–despite the advent of independent publishing–only so many writers to service them. Did that sound weird? Yep. Keeping it. Also, criticism, from both readers and bloggers, can sting. But you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Physically, writing is tough on your back/posture … all that jazz.

  1. How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

The first thing you need to know is that I always make it quick. It’s also the last thing you need to know.

 

 

  1. How many of those just counted would you estimate are the direct result of you being so angry at someone that you thought “Oh the things I am going to do to you?”

I don’t get angry before or during fights, even dating back to my days in the ring and cage. But, adrenaline can be a hell of a drug, and it pairs nicely with head kicks.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10 or 11

 

I received criticism on a draft from a big-name author I respect that my writing just wasn’t at the level it needed to be, but that was balanced by another who gave the book a raving, five-star review. Again, good with the bad. Not all writing styles will be for everyone, and his criticism did lead me to do two full page-one rewrites.

 

  1. What has been the best compliment?

A recent review compared my current series to a unique blend of Princess Mononoke, The Legend of Zelda and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Two of those were conscious influences on the world of the Landkist Saga. All three are awesome.

  1. Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

 

I wrote a letter to R.A. Salvatore when I was 13, as he was my favorite author at the time and lived in my home state. I referred to my desire to one day “compete” with him on store shelves. I didn’t mean it as an insult, but competition was in my mind even at that time, and even with someone I admired. He wrote a really nice note back (also told me I could Email him next time so as not to waste money on postage,) and said, “There is no such thing as competing authors. There can never be too many voices in the fantasy genre.” It stuck with me. And I would tell any “aspiring” writers out there to drop the “aspiring” tag, and just keep writing. If you write, you’re a writer. And it’s up to readers, critics and your own muse whether or not you’re any good at it.

  1. What do you think will be your Final words?

“I had a good run. Thank you. I love you all.”

 

 

  1. What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

 

What would win in a fight between a Tiger and a Lion? It’s literally the only question that matters and I’m disgusted at your lack of professionalism.

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

What is the best portrayal of a goblin in any medium? And why is it Norman Osborne?

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Some great answers to some stupid questions! Thanks Steven. And you can find his books here

Interview with Rob J. Hayes

I wanted to do this interview with Rob after reading his book Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans #1). I loved it and it easily earned 5 stars from me. It will be available for sale on Friday the 26th but I will be out of town, so am posting this a bit earlier than I wanted. But I will be at the Phoenix Comic-Con from Wednesday to Monday. Meeting some of my Favorite authors, Like Robin Hobb, Brent Weeks, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Jim Butcher, Scott Lynch for the first time. And many more that I have met before.  Hopefully I will have lots of cool photos and stuff to share with you all when I get back.

1.       If you could do it all over again, would you change anything in your FIRST book?

Yes. A few readers have accused me of trying too hard with The Heresy Within, and I can see it. Like a new friend trying too hard to fit in. I had yet to properly settle into my own voice and figure out my own boundaries. So yes, I would certainly change some things… but I have no idea what. Can I go with ‘I would have made it better’?

2.       Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

All the time. The cover leads you to pick up the book and read the blurb. The blurb leads you to check out the first page. The first page leads you to buy the tome. A crappy cover and the book fails at the first hurdle. You judge anything with the information you have at the time and, when browsing books trying to decide which one to read next, the first information you have is the cover. I may never have discovered the joy of reading a Robin Hobb book if not for the Liveship Traders covers.

3.       Who designed your cover/covers? Where you able to work with the artist or is it all the publisher?

Alex Raspad has done the artwork for most of my books with input from myself on some of them, very little input after the initial ‘Here’s what I want’ actually. Whether it’s character shots or vistas or pirate towns burning to the ground while the men on a ship watch, Alex gets it spot on and he just keeps getting better.

Shawn King does the design on all of them afterwards and I can’t praise him enough for turning the art into actual book covers. I don’t know all of the fancy design terms folk use, and any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic… So Shawn is a wizard. Also, I hear he once turned Gandalf into a frog.

4.      Have you ever had a side character Try to steal the show? Would you like to go back and make a spin off series or something for them? Or is there a theme or idea you’d love to be able to explore in more depth?
Funny you should ask that. In earlier versions of Where Loyalties Lie there was a side character called Elaina Black who everyone (including myself) loved. In the rewrites she kept having more and more chapters and I think it’s fair to say that these days the story is as much about her as any of the others.
There are a few other characters who have made a bit of splash and when they do I tend to get a little bit inspired and write short stories around them. A few of those short stories will soon be available on my website.

5.       If you could read any book again for the first-time What book would it be?

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb. No book has ever hit me in the feels quite like that one. I actually cried. Also, Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding. There’s a scene involving a mid-air dogfight between a hundred flying machines, punctuated by a guy having a fist fight with a cat. It remains one of my favourite scenes in all fantasy.

6.       When trying to figure out what a character should look like, do you think of Celebrities, or just start looking at everyone you pass as if your looking through a mug shot book?

Neither. Sometimes both. Most characters just sort of come about naturally in my head, though I probably take some inspiration from folk around me without even realizing. Some characters come from more direct inspirations. I like to reference a character from my second book, The Colour of Vengeance called Jacob Lee. He’s a psychopathic, super powered, zealot with a loose grasp of reality and he likes to dance to music that only he can hear. The inspiration comes from a film called Priest (2011)… actually it comes from a single shot in the trailer of that film where Karl Urban’s character is walking through a city in chaos and waving his arms around like a conductor. It’s a terrible film, but I loved that shot and it led quite directly to Jacob Lee.

7.       How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?

Thirteen so far.
2 of them will never see the light of day, early attempts at discovering my style.
2 are currently in print, my It Takes a Thief… series.
1 is being released on May 26th. Where Loyalties Lie.
3 are being re-released on June 21st. The Ties that Bind trilogy.
2 are being released later this year. The Fifth Empire of Man (the follow up to Where Loyalties Lie), and Drones (a sci-fi noir story).
1 is being released next year. City of Kings (the follow up to The Ties that Bind trilogy).
2 are currently being looked at by agents so I can’t share any details.
And I’m already writing the 14th.

8.       Four children have small toys. The first child has 1/10 of the toys, the second child has 12 more toys than the first, the third child has one more toy of what the first child has and the fourth child has double the third child. How many cages are there?

How many cages are there? Four, I guess. How else do you store live children?

9.       Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Low pay, long hours, and that look of ‘You’re a unicorn.’ whenever you tell people what you do for a living.

10.   How many people have you killed over the course of your career?  Real people first, then fictional.

It’s impossible to say how many real people I might have killed over the course of my career. Due to the butterfly effect any action I take has a knock on reaction that could technically cause any number of deaths. I may be responsible for none of those deaths, but my actions may have indirectly caused events leading up to them.
As for fictional characters… A LOT. Tens of thousands at least. My First Earth saga is set on a world of turmoil where wars are a regular thing, especially in the current age. And the troubles on that world are only just getting started. Less than Star Wars, though… I’ve never blown up a planet.
11.  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did it end up helping? Or did we just count that person in question 10
Honestly one of the hardest criticisms for me to take is the times I’ve been called an Abercrombie clone. We have similar styles in some ways and a few readers picked up on that. At first it made me a little angry. Then I started looking at differently. Abercrombie is a hugely successful author with some very good books. If people want to draw comparisons between us then I will take it as a compliment.

12.  What has been the best compliment?

Any one given by my big sister. She’s my very first reader and my hero, and really not afraid to tell me when I suck, so any time she says I’ve done something well, that’s pretty much the highest praise in the world.

13.  Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?

Never call yourself aspiring. Do you write words onto pages? Then you are a writer. Have you sold even a single copy of the words you have written onto pages? Then you are a professional writer. Also, marry into money.

14.  What do you think will be your Final words?

“Well personally I kinda wanna to slay the dragon.”

15.  What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Why pirates?

16.  Do you have any questions for me?

What is ‘The Captain’s Daughter’?
You can find more about Rob at his site http://www.robjhayes.co.uk/

Interview with Deborah A. Wolf

In my continuing Have an author for dinner™ Interview series We will be chatting with new Grimdark Royalty, Debra A. Wolf .  I have not read her book, THE DRAGON’S LEGACY yet, but have heard such wonderful things about it. I had to ask her over for a Bite. How do I know she is Grimdark Royalty if I haven’t read her book yet? Good question. Short answer We are Facebook Friends. The Long answer is…..  Well you will see soon enough.

Q) Have you always wanted to be a writer?

A)  No. It took four years of drinking milk, learning to walk and use the potty, and then read before I finally decided what I wanted to do with my life.

Q) What books or authors do you feel have influenced you either in your writing or just in everyday life?

A) Tolkien, of course. Madeline L’Engle. Steinbeck. Victor Hugo, Anne Rice, Stephen King, whose book On Writing is really important to me as much for the author’s must-have life lessons as it is for actual writing advice. He reminds us not to get so wrapped up in the destination that we don’t enjoy our journey.

Q) What is your favorite quote of yours?

A) “Hafsa Azeina was no ordinary woman. She waded through the people’s dreams like a jiinberry farmer in shallow waters, plucking the ripe fruit of fertile dreamings. Some of this harvest was hoarded for later, some was sold at market, and some—Ani was certain of this last, though she had never asked outright—some of the dreams were eaten fresh, staining the lips and fingertips and the soul of the woman who ate them with their dark, sweet juices.”

Q) Any favorite quote by someone else?

A) “In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit.” ~Tolkien

 

Q). What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?

A) My favorite part is when a random brainstorming session ties together something that cropped up out of the nether two years ago with no context or explanation, but which I included because I knew somehow it was important and that the spiders would whisper their answers to me sooner or later.

A) The silence between those times. Because you know those feckin’ spiders are stalking you.

Q) I asked you this in your AMA on Reddit. The response was ….scary, I would love for you to tell us a little about one of your main characters? Do they have any Strong Political views, OCD habits, super powers, Homicidal sentient weapons? You know the usual type of things.

A) Hm, I’ll pick Hafsa Azeina for this one, because she’s the character most like me.

Hafsa Azeina is a dreamshifter; she kills her enemies in their sleep and uses their body parts to make musical instruments. She’s also got a possessed dagger that would love to eat her soul, and a shofar made from a horn of the Golden Ram.

(Yes, that Golden Ram).

  She’s a mom, and not overly fond of goat cheese.

Q) Describe your book Badly. Example Star-Wars deadbeat dad tries to get his son to take over the family business.

 

A) Parasitic life forms react with panic as their giant lizard host wakes.

Q) Your book hits shelves when?

A) April 18, 2017

Q) What are you working on now?

 

A) THE DRAGON’S LEGACY 2: THE FORBIDDEN CITY. This book is going to knock your feckin’ socks off.

Q) Where can my curious goblins find out more about you?

 http://www.deborahawolf.com/

facebook.com/Deborah.A.Wolf.Author/

 

Any Final words?

Hold my whiskey and watch this.

Thank you so much Deborah  for stopping by and showing the goblins how to kill with your book. Looks like they are riding into battle with it now.

Warchief Ripnugget

There you Have it readers. That is why I called her Grimdark Royalty.  The terrifyingly adorable Deborah A. Wolf. Her first book THE DRAGON’S LEGACY makes its debut April 18, 2017 And I can’t wait to sink my teeth in to it. Plus, you can use it for a weapon!!! Arm yourself with it from the links below.

Interview with C.T. Phipps

In my continuing  “Have an author for dinner™ “ Interview series We will be chatting with my pal C.T. Phipps. This talented author Writes everything from Horror to Humor and Super heroes / Villains to Post-Apocalyptic Lovecraftian. So, everyone should find something of him that is very appetizing.

So lets get this interview cooking…..

 

Q) Have you always wanted to be a writer?

 

A) Oh yes, I wrote my “first” book when I was six or seven years old. It made no sense whatsover and probably had more typos than success but it was wonderful. I was already thinking it was good enough to be published too. Hehe. Needless to say, in the thirty years or so until I was actually published, I had quite a few rude awakenings.

 

Q) What books or authors do you feel have influenced you either in your writing or just in everyday life?

 

A) That’s a bit of a loaded question as I have hundreds of authors who have added to my love of the genre and each throws a little tiny bit of their essence into the primordial soup which is my brain. Okay, that sounded dirty. However, if I had to choose a top ten I’d go with J.R.R Tolkien, Mark Lawrence, George R.R. Martin, HP Lovecraft, Robert Howard, Stephen King, David Weber, Joe Abercrombie, Jim Berheimer, David Niall Wilson, Brian Lumley, and a few others who are friends as well as influences.

 

Q) What is your favorite quote of yours?

 

A) I have a lot of snarky dialogue and memorable quotes that my readers love. Indeed, a favorite scene of quotes is The Secrets of Supervillainy where the characters pause in a siege by superpowered mercenaries to discuss whether The Force Awakens was any good. However, if I had to choose one quote, I’d probably choose one I just wrote for my character Cassius in Lucifer’s Star’s sequel, “If I am damned then that is the ultimate freedom. Everything I choose from this point on is something I do simply because I want to.”

 

Q) Any favorite quote by someone else?

 

A) HPL wins this one, barely, with, “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” I have a bunch of ones, though, which have stuck with me over the years. This one, though, was just so nicely evocative that I think it is always in the back of my mind.

 

Q). What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?

 

A) Oh, I love the conversations I write in my books. It’s weird but I just love the back and forth patter that knowing what my characters will say to anything is so entertaining to me. I could do most of my books out of pure dialgue. Least favorite? I won’t say editing because that’s an easy answer and sometimes I enjoy improving scenes. Instead, I’ll say promotion is often a hassle because you want it to all just magically be a bunch of best-sellers.

 

Q) I have really enjoyed All 5 books of yours that I have read. For this question, I would love for you to tell us a little about one of your main characters? Do they have any Strong Political views, OCD habits, super powers, Homicidal sentient weapons? You know the usual type of things.

 

A) Thanks for reading as much of my work as I have. Here’s some factoids about all of my leaders.

 

Agent G (Agent G): Loves pictures of pandas and cats. Also watches people play video games on Youtube in his free time versus actually playing them again. His favorite weapon is the garrote. He actually can’t get drunk due to a cybernetic liver but loves the taste of booze. Is the only believer in a higher power among Letters. Fantasy casting is Ryan Reynolds.

 

John Henry Booth (Cthulhu Armageddon): His greatest regret from leaving “civilization” is the loss of his daily coffee ration. Also, leaving behind his family. Is actually only an above-average shot but his training puts him above most Wastelanders. Fantasy casting is Idris Elba.

 

Cassius Mass (Lucifer’s Star): Despite being born a nobleman, his title of Count was awarded for meritous service in battle. His title isn’t worth a bag of chips post-war and embarrasses him now. Only realized the Archduchy of Crius were Bad GuysTM after the war. Tries to be Han Solo and ends up more like a hung over Malcolm Reynolds. Fantasy casting is Christian Bale.

 

Derek Hawthorne (Esoterrorism): Is a Daoist despite the fact he is complete s*** at following said religion. Is a ridiculous fanboy of Bruce Lee. Gets away with being a complete ass**** due to his father being the boss of the Illuminati but tries to pretend it’s for other reasons. Fantasy Casting is Karl Urbam.
Jacob Riverson (Wraith Knight): Jacob despises the nobility despite the fact he was (posthumously) raised to it. He drinks mead and wine in place of water but otherwise is a teetotaller.Jacob, while alive, was the setting’s equivalent of Solomon Kane in Middle Earth.

Fantasy Casting of Young Sean Bean while “Old Sean Bean” voices his ghost form.

 

Gary Karkofsky (Supervillainy Saga): Politcally identifies as an anarchist socialist despite the fact he plans on conquering the world. Despite being about as geeky as the comic book guy on the Simpsons, is actually really good looking. Is unwittingly the equivalent of Jimmy Olsen on his planet. The only reason he hasn’t been killed yet is no other supervillain acts like he’s in a comic book. Fantasy casting is Wentworth Miller.

 

  1. Q) Describe one of your books Badly. Example Star-Wars deadbeat dad tries to get his son to take over the family business.

 

  1. A) Agent G: Brain damaged man with numerous prothstetics and violent tendenacies struggles with existential crisis in foreign country.

Cthulhu Armageddon: Basically the Dark Tower except not as good and more shooting things.

 

Esoterrorism: Basically Agent G except magic instead of cyborgs.

 

Lucifer’s Star: Ace pilot suffering PTSD becomes drunk and knocks boots with lots of sexy space women.

 

Supervillainy Saga: Psychotic manchild geek gets superpowers and unleashes killing spree–yet mysteriously only makes more friends and improves his marriage.

 

Wraith Knight: Where I shamelessly rip off J.R.R Tolkien and have a Ring Wraith team up with the Witcher 3’s Ciri.

 

Q} What have you got out now? Basically, Promote something here
A} THE TOWER OF ZHAAL is the sequel to my CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON novel and picks up with John Henry Booth and Mercury Halsey finding out someone is about to resurrect the last Great Old One and finish of the remains of humanity. But they have more pressing concerns as John is in the final stages of his transformation into a creature from beyond. Will he choose life as a monster or merciful death as a man?

 

AGENT G is my cyberpunk technothriller about a man who belongs to a corporation that provides murder services all across the world. Their operatives, Letters, each have their minds wiped and have to serve ten years before they receive their servance pay of millions as well as a return of their original identities. G isn’t content to wait and is searching for who he was. Unfortunately, his quest is interrupted by a traitor infiltrating the Society and forcing him to infiltrate his opponent’s employers right back.

 

LUCIFER’S STAR is basically my “R-rated Star Wars” which is what I call a story about a famous starfighter pilot who finds out, after his side loses, that he was working for a ruthless totalitarian dictatroship the entire time. Reduced to being a drunk and a navigator on a freight hauler, not even Han Solo but more Dave Lister, he ends up getting dragooned by the government he spent a decade fighting into stopping a terrorist organization eager to re-start the war. Probably my best work, to be honest.

 

The fourth novel in the SUPERVILLAINY SAGA will also be coming out on April 15th.

 

  1. Q) What are you working on now? What is about to came out?

 

  1. A) I’m working on far-far too many projects, including sequels to Agent G, Lucifer’s Star, and another Supervillainy book.

 

  1. Q) Where can my curious goblins find out more about you?

 

  1. A) I keep a “for fun” blog for reviews called the UNITED FEDERATION OF CHARLES.

 

http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

 

I also have an author page. https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/

 

Well I hope that gave my readers  something to chew on. I want to thank Charles for doing the interview and helping out with Phipps day…… It would have been nothing without you C.T.!

Phipps Day, like many holidays is a day to give gifts…. well at least one gift. That’s right everyone that shares this post or these 1 and 2 Phipps posts to FB or twitter will be put in to the drawing at the end of today 4/12/17. One winner will be able to chose any one book by C.T. Phipps in audio or EBook formats