The Confessions of Jonathan Flite, an Interview with the Author Matthew J. Beier

BooksGoSocial

 

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

I’m trying to build up the skills and bravery to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains solo and on a regular basis. I have all the gear, so I now need to bite the bullet do it. My only fear is that I wouldn’t know how to use my bear spray if I get attacked by a bear. (Knowing me, I’d probably spray it the wrong way, into my eyes.)

 

 

How did you get into writing?

 

I started dictating stories to my mother—beginning with my own little adaptations of “The Wizard of Oz” (movie)—when I was three or four, complete with drawn or painted pictures stapled into book form. I drew my first little comic strip at age six, then started writing my first stories and “screenplays” around age twelve. I didn’t get serious about writing until age seventeen or so, when I started developing the story that is now the Jonathan Flite series. It took me over a decade to figure out how to write it, so in the meantime, I wrote and published my first novel “The Breeders” in 2012, which was my initial foray into the book world.

 

 

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

 

Oh gosh. So many to choose from. I would say the Harry Potter series (cheating slightly to consider all seven books as one), “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro, and “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene.

 

 

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

 

The Jonathan Flite series mashes a lot of topics together: life, death, ghosts, coming of age, science, murder, crime, religious terrorism, and questions about the nature of reality. Inspiration came from many places over the course of my life. I’ve always been curious about all the unanswered questions in the universe, so this series ultimately evolved into an examination of that overall topic. The story also involves seven kids who go missing, which is a result of both my sisters almost being kidnapped at different times when we were kids—something that still freaks me out if I really think about it. Finally, I grew up in a very religious household. This forced me later on in life to seriously examine the social ramifications of such organized thought structures. This process was unfortunately helped along by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. That day influenced one of the major events that kicks off the Jonathan Flite series—that being a nuclear terrorist attack in Switzerland carried out by a fanatical Catholic. Because the books juggle multiple timelines and points of view, I’m able to explore these various subjects from a number of angles, which is a fun process.

 

 

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

 

As I mentioned, the overall series took about twelve years to develop before I finally figured out how to write it properly. I rewrote it at least ten times in different ways before finally stumbling upon a unique structural approach that I knew could work for all seven books.

 

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

 

Morning. Tea. Music. MacBook Air. It’s my favorite part of any day!

 

 

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

 

Marketing and social media are extremely important, and I plan to use these tools more as I publish further books in the series. You can have great reviews and a few sincere advocates dying to see your book on the bestseller lists, but it will never gain traction without marketing, promotion, and word of mouth.

 

 

 

Do you read your book reviews?

 

I do read book reviews, with special attention to negative ones, because A) I like to torture myself and B) I like to weigh other people’s opinions against my own vision. You can’t grow as a writer unless you’re able to take constructive criticism, so I use reviews as a tool to gauge my abilities and see how I might improve, or why I’m actually glad of the creative choices I’ve made. When the reviews are good, it also provides much-needed encouragement, because I was born in a cocoon of self doubt.

 

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

 

Here’s my advice: Imagine how it felt to hold your favorite book in your hands for the first time, and how it felt to read those first few pages, all the way on to the last page. Then, imagine how you feel when looking at that book on your bookshelf, remembering how dazzling it was. If you’re aiming to write something equally dazzling, put your book in that book’s place. Imagine how it would feel to pick it up off a bookshelf and read that first page. Imagine how you would want to feel when closing the back cover. Then, get cracking. Take the necessary steps to make your imagined book a reality, and don’t stop until it’s exactly what you want it to be.

 

 

What are you reading now?

 

I’m currently reading all the new canon STAR WARS books for two reasons. First, I’m one of the biggest STAR WARS fans on Earth, and I care about that franchise as much as I care about my own books. Second, I would love to someday write new canon novels for Lucasfilm/Disney, and I want to keep up on their official storyline in case I ever get the chance.

 

 

What’s your next step?

I recently published Book 2 in the Jonathan Flite series, “The Release of Jonathan Flite,” so I’m now working on Book 3, “The Rise of Jonathan Flite,” while continuing to plan the last four books of the series. I’m also working on two screenplays, one short and one feature length. I’m hoping to direct them as my first two film projects within the next few years.

 

 

 

Follow Matthew on Twitter @MatthewBeier

An Interview with the Author of ‘Z Towers’ Jay Zano

BooksGoSocial

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

The most unexpected thing I have ever done was write this book. I have always been a good storyteller but growing up I struggled with reading comprehension. If you go back and tell my high school guidance counselor I wrote a book he would die where he sat.

 

 

How did you get into writing?

 

As mentioned, I have always enjoyed telling stories. In college, writing assignments was always a strength of mine. I always received high marks in making essentially any topic exciting to read. Well, except for American History. I felt me and my professor were on opposite ends of the political spectrum so he never seemed too thrilled about my submissions.

 

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

 

I am Legend, War War Z, and Appalachian Trials.

 

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

 

A few friends and I were discussing how irritating some people are when one friend jokingly said, “man wouldn’t it be great if it was legal to kill annoying coworkers”. Thinking only an apocalyptic event could provide enough justification, Z Towers was born.   

 

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

 

I always tell people it took 6 months to write which was over a two year span. I burned out after a couple of months so I took 18 months off.

 

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

 

 

I need to be in a place where I have limited visual distractions.I usually go to my office over on the weekends or in a private room at the library. For Z towers, I blared 80’s hair rock in my earbuds while writing. If the book ever turns into a movie I will insist the soundtrack be 100% Motely Crue songs!  

 

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

 

Marketing and social media is vital to promote your book. Since self-publishing has taken off, pretty much anyone can upload a book to Amazon. Having a quality book matters less than having a good marketing plan. As a self-published writer, I am trying to learn the marketing side of things. I can have the best book in the world but it doesn’t matter if no one knows it exists.  

 

 

Do you read your book reviews?

 

I am obsessed with my book reviews. It is awesome getting feedback from complete strangers. I can only take my wife’s feedback with a grain a salt. The real validation is the feedback from those who do not know you.

 

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

 

I will share the advice I learned from reading hundreds of blogs on how to write and publish a book. Invest in quality editing and cover design. You can have the best story in the world but if the reader is distracted by grammatical errors or plot holes you will lose them. Also, if your cover is poorly done you will be less likely to get anyone to even look at it.

 

 

What are you reading now?

 

I am reading Deaf Again by Mark Drolsbaugh. I am learning sign language and wanted to learn more about deaf culture in general.

 

What’s your next step?

 

My next project is to co-author a book with my ten year old son over the summer. He has a fantastic idea for a book and wants for us to work on it together.  

 

 

Follow Jay on Twitter @zooktowers

She Receives the Night – an Interview with the Author Robert Earle

Hannah Jenkins

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

I was a diplomat for twenty-five years and lived in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Most of that time I kept the fiction I wrote to myself, publishing a handful of stories and one nonfiction book about North America. The work was demanding, but it enabled me to retire at 50, which was my plan. Since then I’ve been free to write as much as I wanted, publishing another nonfiction book, over 100 short stories, and a novel.

 

How did you get into writing?

 

I realized I was a writer when I was fifteen. The urge to write emerged out of voracious reading, I’m sure. The books I read were “better than life.” The characters were more vivid than the people I knew; the descriptions made me see better with my mind than with my eyes; the stories went somewhere and took me with them.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

 

This is a very difficult question. The truth is that I don’t have 3 top books of all time. Some authors mean more to me than others. I’m thinking of Flannery O’Connor, Dostoevsky, Joyce, Chekhov, Updike, James. My real fantasy is to be able to read many different books at once somehow…be a river into which many streams feed. Too bad I have to take books one by one. Light in August by Faulkner thrilled me when I was younger. Flannery O’Connor’s stories sizzle. Ulysses made anything possible; there weren’t any rules anymore. I loved that. Writers who somehow fabricate entire worlds are the writers I value most.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

 

She Receives the Night is a collection of short stories about women all over the world, of all stations, and all ages. The key idea is that women bear the burdens of life’s darkness so that everyone (themselves included) can enjoy life’s light. That idea took hold of me when I was very young, observing and being cared for by my mother, a nurse. She was the family’s strength, and I see that strength in women all the time, so naturally I wanted to explore it in my writing.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

 

The story called “Birth” was written and published in 1997, so the answer is twenty years. One day I simply realized I had a cache of stories about women that would fill an entire book, so I picked and chose, and She Receives the Night emerged.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

 

My writing ritual is straightforward. I write first thing in the morning and block out the world for three or four hours. Then I go to the gym, have some lunch, and go back to writing. I do this six or seven days a week. Part of my strategy is to be totally consistent and thereby avoid self-recrimination when I take a few days off to travel or for the holidays. People say I’m disciplined, but really, I’m just being me.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

 

It seems marketing and social media represent the keys to the kingdom.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

 

I do, sure. It’s interesting to see what other people think of my work. The reviews that really excite me are the ones demonstrating a clear understanding of what I am trying to do. That creates a connection of particular value to me.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

 

You have to observe the world and yourself in equal measure and find ways to put your findings into writing…not talking about writing, not wishing you were writing…actually writing. Move the pen. Then move it again. Then revise and revise again. Writing isn’t easy. You have to have a thick skin and be your own most severe critic.

 

What are you reading now?

 

I’m reading The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. On one level it’s a conventional story about rich people enduring bad marriages; on another level, it’s a daring literary experiment driven by a totally unreliable narrator.

 

What’s your next step?

 

My next step is to get on with revising a long short story I’ve been working on. I think I’m going to include it in my next collection.

 

Follow Robert on Twitter: @RobertLeeEarle

 

An Interview with D.S. Hodges, Author of ‘The Barlow Bridge Machine’

Hannah Jenkins

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I am dyslexic. Not too unusual but enough to really cause me pain. Got to love a spell checker and a good editor!

 

How did you get into writing?

The usual story. Boy meets pen. Ditches pen for keyboard, flirted with voice to text but it was too moody for me so I took up the keyboard again. We now live happily together in Cairns, Australia.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Good question. It’s set in WW II. A group of scientists develop time travel. It deals with some pretty important events during that period. Some stories I want to tell – like the demise of HMS Glorious, The rise of fascism in England and the Battle of Cable St. As with all my books, it’s fiction based on actual events. Mmmm.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

My last book took about 4 months of writing. It was away for two and a half months being reviewed, copy edited, etc. So that makes it over 6 months. But I wrote another whilst it was away.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

Yes, I suppose I have. I like to write in the morning. Have a nap then do house work type stuff in the afternoon. My wife is away working, so I’m Mr Mop!

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Very. Without it Indi writers are silent.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Write. If it doesn’t work, rewrite it. Don’t ponder too much. I find as I start to write, the story unfolds.

The other thing is not to be afraid to use an editor.

 

What are you reading now?

I’m reading some research material about two things. The rise of fascism in Germany for my fourth book, Miriam, and also stories about HMS Pandora, a 28 gun naval frigate sent to capture the mutineers from The Bounty. That story will be book No. 5!

 

What’s your next step?

Finish book four, Miriam. I’m 24,000 words in, so I’m getting there. Also going to do some promotion at local markets of my 2nd book ‘Little Miss Muffet’ A historical fiction about the 1921 Mt. Mulligan mining disaster. Wish me luck!

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

Besides mine? Oh. 1) Treasure Island. I said I was dyslexic and it was the first book I read. I was 11. 2) David Copperfield. Yes, I know. It’s old but pure gold. 3) Patrick O’Brian – The Golden Ocean. I love all Patrick O’Brian’s books. That one in particular.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Usually.

 

Follow David on Twitter: @dshodges1

A Consternation of Monsters

Hannah Jenkins

We met with author Eric Fritzius to learn about where he got the ideas for his stories and what he plans to do next.

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

Invented the Oxford Comma. (Or maybe it was the Oxford Coma. I forget. I drank a lot in England….  Or was it Oxford, Mississippi?  Lemme check my diploma.)

 

How did you get into writing?

I started writing plays from an early age. Eventually, I realized that many of my ideas could not be easily staged and really needed the breathing room that prose offers. Once in a while, some of those stories have found their way back to the stage, as is the case for my story “…to a Flame,” which is also a short play with several productions to its credit. It will appear as a future episode of my podcast The Consternation of Monsters Podcast found here or on iTunes.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Many different places, as it’s a collection of short fiction; some stories spawned from my travels, childhood memories, random sentences involving cutlery, a typing test, legendary Appalachian monsters, the tenacity of criminals and wolves.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

Technically two decades, but that’s just counting when the earliest of the stories was written. Most of the rest were far more recent.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

I’ve tried a number of things, but I find that having a deadline with embarrassment on the line helps a great deal.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Purty darn.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Read your stories aloud. I find it’s the fastest way to copy edit. While you’re at it, turn them into audiobooks.

 

What are you reading now?

I’m super late to the Kingkiller Saga party, so I’m reading The Name of the Wind. I’m also reading Eliot Parker’s Appalachian detective novel Fragile Brilliance.

 

What’s your next step?

Finishing up the next two collections, one of which contains further adventures with the characters from A Consternation of Monsters, and the other which will feature more earth-bound, non-genre stories. Those will also be the next two audiobooks.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

Martian Chronicles. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. American Gods.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Occasionally. Trouble is, while the majority are quite positive, there are always a handful that can be complete bummers. Sometimes even those are entertaining, though. Like the recent review of my audiobook that described it as “Bubba Lovecraft,” which made me laugh out loud, and is not entirely inaccurate.  

 

Follow Eric on Twitter: @thingsyouforgot

 

An Interview with ‘Beverly’ Author Fiona Pearse

Hannah Jenkins

 

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I don’t consider myself a writer

 

How did you get into writing?

I had a story to tell on a topic that has rarely been written about and I realised I could contribute something original and authentic to the writing world. Having only done a small amount of experimenting with writing in the past, I had no idea how to start or whether or not I could actually do it. My short novel took seventeen drafts! So many re-writes, as I learned from my mistakes, and embellishments, moved around, taken out. But eventually it came together. After many submissions, it was accepted by an independent publisher, looking to branch into the novella / short novel category. It was a fantastic feeling, to get that acceptance from the literary world. They published The I.T. Girl in ebook format. It was a great experience, but six months in, we realised we had very different ideas on marketing – I just didn’t see a story about a woman holding her own in the IT world, essentially a story about being the odd-one-out, as a romance – so we decided to go our separate ways. I self-published using its working title, Orla’s Code, and it was eventually nominated for an award – another great feeling.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Beverly is a story about a woman with a stutter who shuts herself away from the world. When the people she relies on let her down, she has to face her worst fears, and it’s really a story about self-acceptance as much as it is about the nature of friendship. I have a stutter, and so wanted to show what it’s like inside that world. Again, having a story to tell about a topic which isn’t often written about gave me the writing bug.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

About two years of weekend writing. But this time it only took me four drafts. Having written Orla’s Code, I planned a lot better, with a sense of knowing where I was going.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

I don’t. I find once I start writing, I can’t stop. But I don’t write regularly. When in the editing phase, I used to print out a chapter a week and edit it with a pencil on the way to work. Writers with a full-time job really learn to improvise.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

The most important thing for me is the quality of the book – both inside and out. I want to contribute something worth the reader’s time and money, and I want it to be as polished as a professionally published book. Once you have that product, it would be a shame to leave it sitting on an Amazon shelf. So promoting it to give it the best chance of reaching its audience is really important.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Join a writing group. Get involved in the online community. There’s so much support and advice out there. Set yourself goals. Be as open-minded as possible when receiving feedback.

 

What are you reading now?

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

 

What’s your next step?

In terms of writing, I am promoting Beverly and I am always writing poetry. I would love to publish a book of poems some day. As for another novel, we’ll have to see what life brings.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

What a difficult question. I recently loved The Bees by laline paull. I’ve read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood twice – give me a decade or so, I’ll read it again. I loved A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle. It’s one of those books where the characters stay with you.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Of course. And I really appreciate them.

 

Follow Fiona on Twitter: @fionapearse

 

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