Writer Wednesday: Terri-Lynne DeFino

Today’s guest is fantasy author Terri-Lynne DeFino!  Check out all her writing insights as well as her recipe for her favorite comfort food…

1.  First things first… a name and bio:

Terri-Lynne DeFino is a fantasy writer living in rural New
England; her debut novel Finder was published by Hadley Rille Books, November 2010. She attended the 2006 Viable Paradise X workshop, where she studied with Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Laura Mixon, Steven Gould, Debra Doyle,James Macdonald, James Patrick Kelly, and Cory Doctorow. Currently living in rural Connecticut with her family, her cats, and the various magical creatures that end up in her stories, or on her walls, you can find follow her at her blog.

2.  Where are you from and what’s your favorite thing about where you live?  

I am originally from Paterson, NJ; and as any native New Jerseyite can tell you, once a Jersey girl, always a Jersey girl. Now I live in Connecticut. If NJ is the home of my heart, Connecticut is the home of my soul. The Housatonic River runs through my back yard; the scent of it, the sound of its rushing is in every moment. Mountains and woods all around me, no neighbors but the raccoons and deer—bliss. But I think the best part about living where I live is that, rural as it is, I’m only minutes away from the world of grocery stores, shopping malls and every convenience I could possibly need; and getting to NYC is only an hour and a half in the car. Best of both worlds! Now if only I could figure out how to move this all closer to the ocean…

3.  Tell about your latest book.  What made you want to write it?

A Time Never Lived (May 25th from Hadley Rille Books) is a sequel to my first novel, Finder. It starts off two years after Finder ends, with Ethen’s son, Victorio. There are dragons in this one! Go here to find out more: http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com/p/forthcoming-titles-by-three-with-eyes.html

I did not write ATNL because it is the sequel to Finder, strangely enough; I wrote it as a sort of sympathetic magic for Finder. The story began stewing in my head while writing, and not knowing if I would ever sell, Finder. After I finished the first book and sent it out into the world, I was itching to start something new. I had two stories to choose from. One very tempting, brand new world of characters and cities and cultures; the other in the world I knew so well, and loved so much, using characters I’d barely gotten to know in Finder. I consulted my husband, ever my sounding board, and told him: “If I write the sequel and the first never sells, I’ve wasted not only the year it took to write Finder, but another year writing A Time Never Lived.” He asked which I wanted to write more and, being still one foot in that world, I wanted to write ATNL—“but…what it?” My husband said, “You have to believe Finder is going to sell. If you don’t, it won’t. Write A Time Never Lived.” So I did. A few weeks after starting it, I sold Finder to Hadley Rille Books. The rest, as they say, is history.

4.  Where can people find your books?

Finder can be found in many libraries, or can be ordered through most local bookstores.

ATNL will also be available through any of the the following vendors:

http://www.amazon.com/Finder-Terri-Lynne-DeFino/dp/0982946732/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1288715820&sr=8-1

http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780982946732?id=4887293943313

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finder-terri-lynne-defino/1028027537?ean=9780982946732&itm=1&USRI=finder+terri-lynne+defino&

5.  What are you working on right now?

At this very moment, I am working on Beyond the Gate, a novel that takes place in the same world as Finder and ATNL, but hundreds of years later and in an entirely different part of it. It is the journey of a warrior with bloody secrets, a young woman betrayed, and all of Beyond to travel through if they ever want to see home again.

I am also working on Ritual Born, the new world/culture/characters I didn’t choose after finishing Finder. What happens to the gods when there are no believers left to worship them? Bad things, that’s for certain.

6.  What inspired you to be a writer?

I can’t say that there was anything that inspired me to write. As most writers will answer, I simply did. Some kids play baseball, some play the flute, some are mathletes; I’ve been a writer since those first stapled together pages I put together as a seven-year-old. What has kept me going, striving, working and writing is love, pure and simple. If it’s not about the love, it’s not about anything.

7.  Who is your favorite character in your stories? Why?

Egads…a favorite character. Well, I love Ethen Finder, my eternal dumb-a**, and Zihariel, my enslaved musician from Finder. I love Wait, my noble, bloody warrior in Beyond the Gate. I love Myrie and Quin from A Time Never Lived, but if I have to choose an all-time favorite character, it would be Jigger, an anti-hero character from a book that will never see the light of day. Jigger is a legionnaire, an assassin, an all-around bad guy. He’s also the best redemption character I’ve ever written. I am a HUGE sucker for redemption. It always plays a part in my stories. He comes from a time I was just learning how to weave those threads of story into a viable novel; he, more than any character, taught me how to do so. Though the books he lives in won’t ever be published, I may have to give him his own—one of these days.

8.  What is your favorite comfort food?

Ok, this is a dirty secret, because I’m a really good cook. Really good. My family eats like they live in a restaurant. My comfort food? Spaghettio’s out of a can with a hotdog cut up into it. Not the kind that already has hotdog in it, but a hotdog I add myself—because it has to be a Thuman’s hotdog. Even in my grossness, I’m discerning.

9.  What character from your stories was the hardest to write?

That’s a question I dread answering, because my answer has to come across as arrogant. The fact is, I’ve never had a hard time writing any of my characters. I know them all intimately, because they are all, in some aspect, me—and I am an expert on ME.

I do, however, and in my opinion, write better male characters than female. I’ve been told I have the mental mindset of a nineteen year old boy. I’m inclined to agree.

10.  What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?

The biggest challenge about being a writer is marketing. No matter who you are, who you’re with, big house or small press, marketing is a real part of any writer’s life. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would have to work after my book was published. Blogging and signings and conventions and panels and guest posts and Facebook and on and on and on—sounds exciting, right? It is. It’s a lot of fun. But it takes a good portion of what used to be writing time to do these things. Finder took me nine months to write. A Time Never Lived took eighteen. I know you’re writers but, do the math.

11.  Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Do it for the love. To write for any other reason than the love of it sets most writers up for some real heartache. Few of us in the field get rich off our novels. Slightly more than those few will actually be able to earn a decent living. That sounds really pessimistic, but it’s actually the opposite. Here’s the thing—very few writers will ever be able to quit their day jobs. We are teachers, copyeditors, journalists, lawyers or whatever else pays the bills. If you write for the love, it shows. If you write for the love, it never loses its luster. If you write for the love, all the rest that comes to you—whether publishing with a small press or selling the movie rights to your trilogy—is gravy.

12.  Who are your favorite authors and why?

That’s a hard one. How does one choose out of a field so vast? I suppose if I have to choose favorites, they are Jane Yolen, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Patricia McKillip. These are storytellers, not just writers. They take that extra step to weave words into something magical without ever calling attention to themselves. Their styles are quite different. McKillip is more whimsical. I feel like everything she writes is whispered right into my ear. Kay writes with guts, Yolen writes with heart. All three writers evoke folklore, whether their own or borrowed, to tap into that collective consciousness we all took with us from bonfires and hearthfires in our pasts.

13.  What books have most influenced your writing?

Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay. It taught me that good and evil depends upon whose eyes one is looking out of. That is the only one I have ever been able to pinpoint and say it has influenced me. I never write anything that doesn’t recall that lesson.

14.  What tools are in your writer’s tool-kit?

Took-kit? There’s a tool-kit? Why didn’t anyone ever tell me there was a stinking tool-kit?? Ok, for real, my tool-kit consists of very few things: A computer, time, and determination. I write every day, five days a week. No excuses. No noodling around on the computer and then complaining that I have no time to write in. Butt in chair, fingers to keyboard. DO IT. End of story.

15. Where can people find out more about you and your books/stories?

My blog, http://bogwitch64.livejournal.com/ , our official Hadley Rille Books site http://hadleyrillebooks.com/ and http://heroinesoffantasy.blogspot.com/ a blog I keep with sisters in Hadley Rille Books, Karin Gastreich and Kim Vandervort.

16. What question(s) did I forget to ask?

You forgot to ask me if I like chocolate. The answer is yes.

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If you are a writer interested in participating in Writer Wednesday, please send an email with a short biography to ww (at) ambersistla (dot) com.

Writer Wednesday: Jennifer Wylie

I’m happy to feature fantasy author Jennifer Wylie today.

1.  First things first…a name and bio:

Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet Light is her debut novel published in 2011 by Echelon Press.

Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.

2.  Where are you from and what’s your favorite thing about where you live?

I live in Ontario, Canada. Though I’m not too fond of the snow and cold, I love Canada :) I live in the country and it is so quiet and beautiful.

3.  Tell about your latest book.  What made you want to write it?

I’ve written since I was in public school. My novel Sweet Light I started years ago and it is one of my favorite stories. I love creating a story with fantasy, action and romance all tied together, with lots of twists of course.

4.  Where can people find your stories?  

My stories are all available in ebook formats from most retailers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, OmniLit etc. My novel Sweet Light is available in print from Amazon and Createspace.

Barnes and Noble page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/jen-wylie

Smashwords author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jenwylie

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Wylie/e/B004HQ9XD8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

5.  What are you working on right now?

Writing-wise I’m working on a number of short stories. I’m also in edits for some other shorts, and my a new YA fantasy novel called Broken Aro to be published by Hadley Rille Press in Oct 2012. I’m also working on edits for the sequel to Sweet Light, called Dark Madness.

6.  What inspired you to be a writer?

I never really thought about being a writer growing up, I just loved to read, and writing came from that. My parents eventually kicked my butt and convinced me to try to get published :)

7.  Who is your favorite character in your stories? Why?

My favorite character in Sweet Light is Dric. I just love the strength of his character and how he interacts with others. Interesting note: he wasn’t in my first draft, but I later dreamed about him and wrote his character in.

8.  What is your favorite comfort food?

Chocolate. Of course :)

9.  What character from your stories was the hardest to write?

David was a bit of a challenge with his inability to speak. I didn’t find any of my character’s hard to write, if a character is a problem to write about, then there’s something wrong with them.

10.  What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?

Editing. I don’t mind going over once or twice, but doing it again and again and dealing with the piddly stuff drives me rather nuts at times.

11.  Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Do your research. Pretty much everything you need to know can be found online somewhere. I’m talking learn how to edit, how to market, how the book industry works. Everything. The more you know the less you’ll bang your head against a wall later.

12.  What tools are in your writer’s tool-kit?

I don’t really have a kit. I use Google a lot though to look things up as I need them. Author/editor friends are a great help too for any problems I have.

13.  Where can people find out more about you and your books?

You can visit my website at www.jenniferwylie.ca and also my blog at http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/

twitter: @jen_wylie

goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4499919.Jen_Wylie

facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wylie/151266004895266

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If you are a writer interested in participating in Writer Wednesday, please send an email with a short biography to ww (at) ambersistla (dot) com.

Writer Wednesday: Shauna Roberts

Welcome today’s guest author, Shauna Roberts!


1.  First things first…a name and bio:

Shauna Roberts

I write mainly science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. A graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, I have had several short stories published as well a historical novel inspired by the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” Like Mayflies in a Stream.

2.  Where are you from and what’s your favorite thing about where you live?

I grew up in Beavercreek, Ohio, but after high school I lived on the East Coast, in the Midwest and the South, and on the West Coast. I’m now in Southern California. My favorite thing about living where I do is that every room in my house has a mountain view.

 3.  Tell about your latest story.  What made you want to write it?

When Hadley Rille Books (otherwise a sf/f press) announced its new Archaeology Series in 2008, I really wanted to write for it. The Archaeology Series novels take place in archaeologically interesting times and are as historically accurate to their time periods as possible.

I have been fascinated by ancient Mesopotamia since high school, so I contacted HRB editor Eric Reynolds, who had previously accepted a couple of my short stories for sf anthologies. Long story short, HRB published my novel Like Mayflies in a Stream. The heroine, Shamhat, is a priestess in the world’s first city, Uruk. Her king sends her into the wilderness with a dangerous mission: Tame a giant wild man.

I loved doing the research for Like Mayflies in a Stream, finding out what people ate and drank at the dawn of civilization, how they lived and how they buried their dead, and what challenges they confronted. Most of the things we take for granted today were developed by the people in ancient Mesopotamia in Uruk and its sister, smaller cities—written language, an economic system that linked a city with its surrounding countryside, irrigation, monumental architecture, city planning, a system of time and measures…the list goes on and on. What could be more exciting to write about?

Also, I had long wanted to provide a woman’s take on epic heroes, and Like Mayflies in a Stream gave me that chance. It’s been 4,500 years since Shamhat’s time, yet epic heroes are still celebrated in movies full of crashing cars and exploding skyscrapers. In Like Mayflies in a Stream, Shamhat’s family and her best friend have to live with and clean up the collateral damage. Epic heroes are not so heroic in their eyes.

Hadley Rille Books will also be publishing my novel Ice Magic, Fire Magic in 2013. It’s a fantasy with romantic elements and explores the “good Kirk, bad Kirk” dilemma much more deeply than the original “Star Trek” episode could in an hour.

Before Ice Magic, Fire Magic comes out, I plan to self-publish Shrine of the Heavens, an epic fantasy set in a world inspired by medieval Spain as well as by Rodney King’s famous question, “Can’t we all just get along?” The main characters are pilgrims of different religions and social classes who are traveling together to a holy site sacred to all three religions.

5.  Where can people find your books/stories (links please)?  

People can find a compact but complete list of my fiction with links to the publications available online at:

http://www.writertopia.com/profiles/ShaunaRoberts

Like Mayflies in a Stream is available as a hardcover, a trade paperback, and an e-book at Barnes & Noble online and at Amazon.com. For those who wish to buy Like Mayflies in a Stream right this very moment, the Amazon.com link is:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/098251400X.

5.  What are you working on right now?

Many things. Revising Shrine of the Heavens before I self-publish it. Learning how to put up e-books. Researching and planning a historical novel for adults. Also researching and planning a fantasy YA novel. Still promoting Like Mayflies in a Stream. Preparing to put together a cookbook of the ancient world with other Hadley Rille Archaeology Series authors. Preparing a class on the “Epic of Gilgamesh” for the fall. Planning a themed science fiction anthology with some other Southern California writers.

I also have first drafts of several stories and a novella to finish and send out. And I’d like to resubmit some of my published stories to podcasters, or put those stories up online, or both.

6.  What inspired you to be a writer?

My father worked as a newspaper reporter for a while. My aunt Janet Louise Roberts was a best-selling romance novel author. So writing always seemed a possible career choice. I wrote my first short stories in elementary school, and I was a science and medical writer and editor for 25 years before I decided to concentrate on fiction.

7.  Who is your favorite character in your stories? Why?

That’s a toughie. I love them all, including the villains.

It would be frustrating for your readers if I choose a character who has not reached publication by the time this interview appears on your blog. So I’ll choose Shamhat, the heroine of Like Mayflies in a Stream.

With Shamhat, a priestess of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love and war, I struggled to create an honorable woman who was both strong and true to her times, So many women in historical fiction and science fiction are blatantly unbelievable for their times. I don’t like reading about thinly disguised 21st-century women in books set in the 18th or 23rd century, and I certainly didn’t want to write such an anachronistic character.

The many legends of the goddess Inanna showed what traits the Sumerians attributed to women and how they saw a woman’s life journey. The legends also served as inspirations for some of Shamhat’s adventures; for example, Shamhat’s journey into the desert to tame the wild man Enkidu parallels Inanna’s descent into the Underworld; each loses her jewelry, her clothes, her pride, and finally the life she had known.

Another inspiration was Judith in Friedrich Hebbel’s 1841 play “Judith.” Hebbel’s Judith is a devout widow with a strong sense of duty, but her various obligations conflict, forcing her to make choices that she herself is not sure are morally right. I gave Shamhat even more conflicts and morally ambiguous choices than Judith had.

8.  What is your favorite comfort food?

From the hardest question to the easiest! Dark chocolate!

9.  What character from your stories was the hardest to write?

Kassia in my forthcoming novel Ice Magic, Fire Magic. Before writing her, I had based all my villains on myself. Kassia needed faults and virtues and desires that I lack. It was hard to get into her head and write from her perspective because she was so alien to me.

10.  What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?

For me, the biggest challenge has been that I have many chronic illnesses and must spend 20 to 25 hours a week dealing with medical matters. These obligations disrupt my writing sessions and concentration and further reduce the time and energy I have for writing.

11.  Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Join the Romance Writers of America as well as your local RWA chapter, even if you don’t write romance. Almost everything one learns about writing fiction in RWA applies to other genres, and membership lets you meet and become friends with other writers, published and unpublished.

Schedule regular, sacrosanct times to write. Dedicated writing time demonstrates clearly to children, spouses, friends, and relatives that your writing is important, and it ensures you actually write instead of just thinking about writing.

Keep track of how you spend your time for a week or two, and then make a list of all your activities. Rate them by priority. Everything less important than your writing should be dropped, if possible. Don’t be one of those people who say they don’t have time to write yet find three hours a night to watch TV and play video and computer games.

Don’t worry if your first drafts are crap. Mine usually are. So are those of many other writers. Getting it down on paper is only the first step for some of us. We fix the problems later, and so can you.

12.  Who are your favorite authors and why? 

Ursula K. Le Guin: She is wise; she wrote realistically about women and people of various races and ethnicities before other sf/f authors did; and her story “Gwilan’s Harp” (http://web.me.com/dougday1/english_1a/literature/short_stories/gwilan’s_harp.pdf) helped me greatly when I was young to come to terms with having chronic illnesses and the accompanying disabilities and lifestyle restrictions.

Barbara Hambly: She has written in many genres—science fiction, fantasy, fantasy romance, horror, historical mystery, historical fiction. Her writing is original and entertaining in every genre, and I, too, would like to write successfully in more than one genre.

Gay Gavriel Kay: His books have a depth and breadth that few sf/f books achieve. His best books draw from actual events in human history and have complex plots involving multiple main characters, each with his or her own complete growth arc. I wish I could write like him.

13.  What books have most influenced your writing?

The books of my aunt Janet Louise Roberts, because I learned being a fiction writer could be a lot of fun and one could make a living at it.

The books of Guy Gavriel Kay, because he successfully breaks so many of the “rules” of plotting and structure that beginning writers are taught.

The books of Anne Rice, because she writes lushly, yet her style doesn’t limit her readership.

14.  What tools are in your writer’s tool-kit?

Stubbornness

A belief in myself

A good knowledge of grammar

A huge vocabulary

A liberal arts education

A broad knowledge of human nature and behavior gained through earning a BA, an MA, and a PhD in anthropology

Good research skills

A background in nonfiction writing

A willingness to work hard

Joy in the writing process

A good knowledge of world history, religion, and philosophy

Supportive family and friends

A wonderful critique group

 15.  Where can people find out more about you and your books and stories?

My fiction Website at http://www.ShaunaRoberts.com talks about the themes I return to repeatedly in my fiction, has a perhaps-too-long autobiography, provides brief summaries and the genres of my published stories and novel(s), and has the opening chapter of Like Mayflies in a Stream, which can be read there for free.

 16.  What question(s) did I forget to ask?

QUESTION: What do I see as my obligations as a fiction writer?

ANSWER:

To entertain my readers

To delight readers with the unexpected and the amazing

To give readers stories with substance

To make my readers think

To help new writers on their journey to publication

To help readers discover the books of my writer friends and my favorite authors

 

17.  Other interesting links…

I blog about writing twice a month at the “Novel Spaces” group blog at http://novelspaces.blogspot.com.

I also post irregularly at my personal blog, “For Love of Words,” at http://ShaunaRoberts.blogspot.com. There I interview other authors, explain points of grammar, talk about writing, talk about books I’ve read, and post photographs as part of a recurring feature called “Things in My Yard.”

You can find Hadley Rille Books at http://www.hadleyrillebooks.com. You can learn more about its Archaeology Series there as well as about their other books. Their fantasy line is unique and particularly worth checking out. HRB specializes in fantasy with strong women characters who are definitely not clichéd “kick-butt heroines” who stomp around sullenly in high-heeled boots being rude and beating guys up.

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If you are a writer interested in participating in Writer Wednesday, please send an email with a short biography to ww (at) ambersistla (dot) com.

Writer Wednesday: Eric Griffith

Today’s special guest author is Eric Griffith!


1.    First things first…a bio:

Eric Griffith has been a technology journalist and editor for almost 20 years, working for magazines and Web sites like FamilyPC, Windows Sources, and Access Internet Magazine, all of which are defunct and that’s not his fault. He currently resides in idyllic Ithaca, New York, where is his giddy until the snow falls, then he curses the heavens and the earth with a middle finger extended as he shovels out. He lives with his girl-friend and anywhere from three to five dogs depending on the day.

BETA TEST is his first published novel, but he’s got some great manuscripts in a drawer. Read all his stuff via http://egriffith.info .

2.    Where are you from and what’s your favorite thing about where you live?

Living in Ithaca, as you may have guessed, is mostly idyllic. What I love most about the burg is the unabashed Liberalism, a tiny island of blue in the red of upstate New York farm country. There’s a reason it’s always on lists of “best places to live.”

3.    Tell about your latest book/story.  What made you want to write it?

BETA TEST started as a very basic idea that seemed too derivative to bother with. But it stuck with my brain for 14 years until one day I needed something to write because I wanted to get into a week-long sci-fi/fantasy writing workshop called Viable Paradise. So I banged out a first chapter and sent it off and made it into the workshop. Huzzah!

The story changed a lot due to the input of the instructors and other students, but people liked it enough to encourage me to go on. One NaNoWriMo and a couple extra months later, a baby book was born.

4.    Where can people find your books/stories?  

And it should be available for Kindle and Nook, too!

5.    What are you working on right now?

While I’m always writing and editing stories for my day job at PCMag.com, at night I’m working on a new novel about a homeless guy who’s been imbued with super-powers by warring factions both super-natural and maybe extra-terrestrial.

6.    What inspired you to be a writer?

Superheroes. Loved ‘em as a kid. When I realized I couldn’t actually get any powers with radiation (just cancer) or spider-bites (just painful rashes), I thought I’d work in comic books as an artist. When I realized I sucked at that, I fell back on writing because it seemed easier. When I realized it was actually hard work, I gave it up for a long time. But I still found myself wanting to tell stories until I got sucked back in later in life than I should have started.

7.    Who is your favorite character in your stories? Why?

In BETA TEST, I love my main character, Sam Terra, for being a guy who’s all about the love. He loves a girl who disappears from the planet in front of his eyes and he makes it his mission to find out why. And when he does get answers, he makes it his mission to save the world, because he knows humanity is worth it.

8.    What is your favorite comfort food?

French fries. From McD’s tater sticks to the most upper crust pomme frites, I want all that fried potato-y goodness in my mouth hole.

9.    What character from your stories was the hardest to write?

It took me a while to get a handle on Melvin Dutta, the best friend of the main character, because I wanted him to be just a class-A asshole from the beginning. I thought it was funny if he had no redeeming qualities, and maybe didn’t even like Sam that much. But when I realized Melvin needed one major redeeming feature, it was simple — he loves Sam. Yet he’s still a class-A asshole.

10. What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?

At first it’s finding a voice. I tend to be heavily influenced by whatever I’m currently reading and have to sometimes walk away from reading to get into writing, which just hurts.

Once I was over that, the biggest challenge is getting started. I have all the time in the world to write with my current schedule, but I don’t let myself get going without either progressing through rituals (gotta play all my Words with Friends games first!) or just putting it off by “thinking” (which is code for ordering a second hot chocolate at the café.)

11.  Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

 Finish what you start. Even if it sucks. NaNoWriMo is a good place to get that mind-set going. Remember, you can’t polish that turd if it doesn’t come out. (That’s the grossest metaphor I’ve ever typed.)

12.  Who are your favorite authors and why? 

  • Neil Gaiman because he never has let me down no matter what kind of story he writes.
  • The late Ed McBain because he spent close to 50 years writing the same characters over and over in the 87th Precinct novels and managed to keep them fresh (and forever young…much like super-heroes).
  • JK Rowling because let’s face it, the Harry Potter books will be classics forever, not just because they sold like crazy. They are simply great story-telling.

 13.  What books have most influenced your writing?

Christopher Moore’sThe Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror” was a revelation of sorts for me when I first picked it up, that you could combine so many disparate ideas – holiday cheer, religious fantasy characters, monsters,  and boozy/nasty human characters—and make it work beautifully.

As for a straight-up book about writing, I re-read Stephen King’sOn Writing” every few years, even the memoir parts.

14.  What tools are in your writer’s tool-kit?

Microsoft Word: can’t live without it. I supplement it with notes in Google Docs whenever the mood strikes; I wish I could find a perfect wiki-esque not taking experience that I could jump around in, but nothing has worked yet. I access files on any computer I use because I have the all-important Dropbox software installed; it synchronizes files everywhere, so the latest updates are always on hand.  Google Chrome and Wikipedia are my main research tools (I know, I know, Wikipedia isn’t “accurate” or “correct”, but it’s more than enough for fantasy world building where what I create is far more important). I do most of my novel writing on a little orange Samsung Netbook I named Clementine.

15.  Where can people find out more about you and your books/stories?

I keep people up to date with my books mostly at my personal blog, www.squishedfrog.com. That’s mirrored on my Amazon.com Author’s page at amazon.com/author/ericgriffith

16.  What question(s) did I forget to ask?

  • What do you eat while writing? Chocolate. (I also eat that when not writing).
  • What music do you listen to while writing? Almost exclusively movie soundtracks, usually on a Pandora station. I have branched out into video game soundtracks, too. Anything that’s instrumental but action-packed.

17. Any other links you want mentioned…

  • And you can find all the links about me in the world at egriffith.info

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