Tears of Heaven – an interview with the author, R. A. McCandless

Natashia Thewes

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

Most people see something of a nerdy-guy, which I certainly am. They’re always shocked to find that I have tattoos.

 

How did you get into writing?

Tolkien’s The Hobbit was given to me as a gift and really opened the castle gates of fantasy to me. Suddenly, there was a whole world of swords, magic and fantastical creatures to meet. Immediately after I finished, I took all the money I had and biked down to the bookstore to buy everything else Tolkien had written. I had no idea I was getting the seminal fantasy series: The Lord of the Rings.
I’m compelled by any world where dragons can make an appearance. They don’t have to show up, but the idea that they can? Please and thank you. I also like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger that most of the men around. Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else. So my preferred genre is fantasy, but I’ll take urban fantasy, science fiction and even historic fiction off the shelves for those reasons.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, A Different Light by Elizabeth Lynn, The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Straight from the Bible. I was doing some research on demons for a demon-hunter series I was thinking about, when I stumbled on a passage from the Genesis that talked about Nephilim—the children of angels and humans. They were described as giants among the mortals, and there was quite a bit about them that I hadn’t realized was in the Bible, as well as a few of the non-canonical books, like Enoch. From there, it was a short run to a back history of an immortal, doomed from her birth, and forced to work for the highest power there is.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

TEARS OF HEAVEN started all the way back in 2000. I finished it and had it ready for publishing in 2012.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

Stephen King has a great quote, “’If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” I always have a book that I’m currently reading and I read almost all genres. If the writing is good, I’ll read it. I even “read” when I’m working out. I run between two and five miles every day, and I listen to the “Beneath Ceaseless Skies” audio-fiction podcast. They have some great stuff, and I’ll find myself riffing on a concept heard in one of their stories, and missing the entire conclusion. The upside is I get to listen to the story again on another run to find out what happens.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

So very important. The problem is most indie/small press authors don’t have the first clue when it comes to this kind of modern marketing. We’re at such a disadvantage to begin with, and then we fall further and further behind as we struggle to figure out the ins and outs of social media and marketing.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Good or bad, a review means someone thought enough of your book that they had to express themselves to others. Even if it’s a single star review, that someone took the time to finish the book and post their thoughts is quite the compliment.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Research, research and more research. The internet has made research both easier and more dangerous. You can get a lot from just searching around your topic. But the best research still remains published books and articles on the subject, and if possible discussions with experts. I love doing this. I often find little tidbits or interesting anecdotes that really add depth and realism to my characters. A good expert can really help though. So long as they understand what you’re trying to do (create a fictional world) and don’t get too bogged down in the details of why it wouldn’t work like that, then they can help a great deal!

 

What are you reading now?

TRANSMUTE, book three of the HENCHMAN series by Eric Lahti. A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge. THE MOREAU QUARTET by S. Andrew Swann.

 

What’s your next step?

HELL BECOMES HER, book two in the Flames of Perdition series will release in September followed by the grand finale, COMPANY OF THE DAMNED. After that, a day or three to recuperate and then on to a steampunk series that’s been stewing for far, far too long.

 

 

Follow R.A. McCandless on Twitter @RobRoyMcCandles

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